Galashiels policeman banned from rugby after failing drugs test

Craig Russell corner touch down, Kelso v Gala, 2017.
Craig Russell corner touch down, Kelso v Gala, 2017.

A police officer from Galashiels has been banned from playing rugby for two years after failing a drugs test.

Gala player Craig Russell was found to have female fertility drug clomiphene in his system during a match against Edinburgh Academicals in October 2017.

The winger, who was selected to play for the British Police the previous year, has been serving an interim suspension since.

He will be free to resume playing competitive rugby this October.

A statement released by Scottish Rugby yesterday read: “Russell tested positive for female fertility drug clomiphene which is classed as a specified substance and prohibited at all times under World Anti-Doping regulations.

“The player was found to not have, nor ever had, a therapeutic use exemption to use clomiphene.”

A spokesman added: “This has been a long, drawn-out case but demonstrates the strict liability stance taken by Scottish Rugby and UK Anti-Doping.

“It is the responsibility of every player to play and train cleanly and not seek to take shortcuts through the use of prohibited substances. We use an intelligence-led approach and will act on any credible information received to instigate testing either in or out of competition.”

Estrogen-blocker clomiphene can alter testosterone levels for increased muscle mass, but may also be used to counter the side effects of anabolic steroid use.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “The investigation conducted by WADA was not a criminal matter and there is no misconduct issue to be reviewed by Police Scotland.”