Jamie Acton claims rugby league bosses want to gag talk about drugs problems

JAMIE Acton believes rugby league chiefs are looking to silence those talking about the game’s drug problems after testing positive for growth hormone in a SEVEN-YEAR-OLD sample.

The former Leigh prop, who now competes in MMA, has been hit with a two-year ban from all sport after UK Anti-Doping went back to a 2014 test last year.

That showed traces of hormone GHRP-6, making him the first athlete to be caught after re-analysis following the long-term storage of a sample.

But Londoner Acton, picked up as a youngster by Wigan, feels this punishment may be as a result of him speaking about drug problems in the 13-a-side code in the past – which he claims the Rugby Football League wants kept quiet.

He said: “I posted a video talking about all the drugs I took during my rugby playing career and how it had a negative impact in my life.

“COINCIDENTALLY my old samples were retested using new technology and a sample from 2015 has been flagged as positive for GHRP-6, so I’m being banned for two years.

“I think it’s a big problem that the RFL wishes to silence those raising awareness about the drug problems within the sport, rather than encourage such discussions which I believe could potentially really help current and future players.

“I wholly accept I was in the wrong to take these drugs and have no problem with accepting my ‘punishment.' However the way in which this has come about is concerning.



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“Let’s stop brushing drugs problems under the carpet, whether that be in sport or just general life. The more open and honest we can be about the subject, the better.”

UKAD collected the original sample on December 5, 2014 and nothing showed up – but they retested it on February 5, 2021 and his backdated ban will end on April 29, 2023.

Acting chief executive Pat Myhill said: “As advances in technology allow us to better detect prohibited substances, sample re-analysis forms a vital part of our testing strategy.

“This case shows that we will catch up with athletes who mistakenly think they can evade detection.

“We keep many samples from a variety of sports in our long-term storage facility, and regularly conduct this kind of analysis.

“Athletes have a responsibility to protect their sport as well as their own health, career, and reputation.

"The rules are clear – athletes are personally accountable for what is in their body and if there is something in their system that is prohibited, they will get caught.”

An RFL spokesman said after Acton's comments: "The RFL is committed to rugby league being a clean sport.

"The RFL condemns drug use in sport as doping is harmful to the core values of rugby league. It is damaging to players’ health and wellbeing, the fairness and integrity of the competition and prevents all from the right to participate in a doping free competition.

"The RFL works closely with UK Anti-Doping with all alleged breaches of the Anti-Doping Rules being referred to and investigated by UKAD.

"In conjunction with UKAD, we carry out a number of in and out of competition doping tests.  We are also supportive of UKAD’s testing of historical tests and believe this plays an important part in messaging to players on ensuring the sport remains clean.

"We actively encourage anyone who has any concerns regarding doping to report them. The RFL passes any intelligence in relation to any anti-doping complaints or concerns, to UKAD. UKAD also has a confidential hotline which allows anyone to report concerns direct to UKAD."

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