21 April 2020

Munster's James Cronin handed one-month ban for accidental doping

Munster prop James Cronin has been banned from rugby for a month because of accidental doping.

The unintentional breach came as his pharmacy gave him the wrong medication which resulted in him testing positive for prednisolone and prednisone.

A disciplinary hearing referred the incident to an independent judicial officer Anthony Davies.

Davies said: "Prior to the match against Racing 92, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics, however, the pharmacy dispensed medication to him which was intended for another customer.

"The judicial officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player's sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional. 

"Although the judicial officer found that there was no significant fault on behalf of the player, and that there were clear and compelling mitigating factors, he determined that the player had to bear some responsibility for what was in his sample. 

"It was therefore decided that Cronin will be ineligible for a one-month period from 15 April 2020 until 16 May 2020."

The 29 year-old failed his doping test in a European Champions Cup match against Racing 92 in November.

The rugby season is currently suspended indefinitely.

World Rugby, World Anti-Doping Agency and Sport Ireland all have the right to appeal the decision.

Munster's chief executive James Flanagan said: "This has been an extremely challenging time for James and the province, and we are glad it has reached its conclusion.

"We have treated this matter with the utmost seriousness, and as always Munster Rugby and Irish Rugby are fully supportive of all Sporting Ireland, WADA and World Rugby anti-doping policies.

"Clearly the sanction is reflective of the strong mitigating factors in this case, and we look forward to James' return to action."

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