West Indies’ Andre Russell given one-year ban for doping test rule breach

Andre Russell, the globe-trotting West Indies all-rounder, has been banned from cricket for one year after being found guilty of a doping whereabouts violation in his native Jamaica on Tuesday.

Russell, 28, failed to file his whereabouts on three occasions in 2015 – akin to a failed drug test under the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines – and is barred from playing both international and domestic cricket until 31 January next year.

The verdict comes 11 months after Russell was charged with the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission on 2 March last year, since when he was part of the West Indies side who defeated England to win the World Twenty20 trophy in India.

While a positive drug test would have resulted in an immediate provisional suspension under Wada rules, those for whereabouts violations remain at the discretion of the local anti-doping authority, with Russell allowed to play on by Jadco pending the disciplinary procedure.

Russell told the subsequent three-member tribunal in Jamaica in November last year that he had authorized his agent, Will Quin of Essentially Management, to update his whereabouts as he had not been properly trained to use the online system.

This explanation was challenged by Jadco’s legal team, who stated that education on anti-doping procedures, including the filing procedure, had been made available to all players and thus “gross negligence” was at play.

Patrick Foster, Russell’s Lawyer had shown no pattern of last-minute whereabouts changes or suspicious conduct, adding: “Throughout his career as an international and domestic T20 cricketer Mr Russell has been tested on many occasions by various anti-doping agencies/bodies in several countries pursuant to Wada guidelines and he has never registered an adverse analytical finding.

“Mr Russell is a ‘clean athlete’ who seeks to uphold the integrity of cricket. He respects and makes every effort to be compliant with the rules of sport generally, cricket and to comply with anti-doping rules and procedures. Our client will continue to cooperate fully with the Jadco and Wada.”

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