The West Indian cricketer John Campbell is considering appealing the four year ban from the sport that was slapped on him last week for a doping violation. His legal team has indicated that there were several procedural errors regarding the attempt to obtain a sample from him, and that there were also mitigating factors involved in his case.
In April of this year the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) visited Campbell at his home in Kingston, in order to try and obtain a sample of his blood for testing purposes.
Campbell refused, in direct contravention of JADCO’s policies. The matter was referred to a three member panel who delivered their judgement in an 18 page ruling last week.
They found, in essence, that he had committed an anti-doping violation, and were satisfied that his failure to provide a sample was not accidental.
They imposed a four year ban from all forms of cricket, backdated to the date of the missed test.
The basis of his appeal
The basis of his appeal is that Campbell was not properly notified by JADCO that they intended to ask him to provide a sample, thereby breaching mandatory international standards for testing and investigation. There were also unspecified mitigating factors which the panel should have taken in to account in their judgement. Even if he had committed a violation, he should not have received such a harsh punishment.
His legal team also maintain that Campbell has always been a clean athlete, and has never returned an adverse analytical finding for any banned substance.
As it stands though, this may signify the end of Campbell’s international career.
The 29 year old Jamaican played for the West Indies under-19 side in the 2012 age group World Cup, before making his full domestic debut for the Caribbean Island the next season. In January 2019, he was called up for the West Indies test side for the first time against England, and made his maiden ODI appearance the following month.
He has not played international white ball cricket since 2019, and was not part of their World Cup plans. However, he was a regular in their test teams, and had played in all five Tests the West Indies have played so far in 2022, scoring 248 runs at an average of 35.42.
Other cricketers who have been banned for doping
Campbell can at least console himself with the fact that he is by no means the only cricketer who has been banned for doping, and he finds himself in some august company.
Perhaps the highest profile case of all was that involving Shane Warne, the Australian leg spinner, and the second highest wicket taker of all time in international cricket. He was banned for a year for failing a drug test, testing positive for a banned substance which he claimed had been given to him by his mother to help improve his appearance.
He was able to return to the international side after serving his ban.
More recently, promising young Indian batter Prithvi Shaw found himself in contravention of the rules after taking cough syrup that contained a banned substance, terbutaline. Whilst the Indian authorities accepted his explanation that his offence was inadvertent, he still received an eight month backdated ban from competitive cricket.
Closer to home, West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell, who has become one of the stars of T20 franchise cricket, received his own one year ban in 2017. He was found negligent of failing to notify doping control officers of his whereabouts on three successive occasions as he, and all professional athletes are required to do. Although he tried to defend himself, he was forced to miss several high profile tournaments whilst he served his punishment.
If Campbell is looking for hope that he could yet resume his international career, then Alex Hales provides an example. The England batter was handed a 21-day ban after admitting recreational drug use, and found himself in the wilderness as far as the national side were concerned for almost three years. However, when Jonny Bairstow broke his leg in a freak accident two months ago, he earned a recall to their T2OI side and is now with the squad in Australia preparing for the World Cup.
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