Rugby Star Cleared of Drugs Charge With GMB Help

21 Mar 2009

A professional rugby player who tested positive for his asthma medication has fought off a ban threat with the help of his union. GMB member Ian Sibbit, a second-row forward with Salford City Reds, found himself facing drug misuse charges after an independent drugs test last year showed high levels of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system. Having suffered from asthma since birth, Ian uses a salbutamol inhaler to control his breathing during a match. He had been issued a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) form which he believed allowed him to use salbutamol freely. But while the Rugby Football League (RFL) accepted this, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) did not and pressed for a two year ban. A WADA appeal found he had misunderstood the TUE and was using the inhaler too often. But with the backing of his club and his union, Ian has now been told he will not be banned from the game. Instead he was reprimanded of the use of inhaler, but can continue to play. Ian commented: ‘Rugby league is my life and I have never taken any performance enhancing drugs. The thought that I could be banned for two years has hung over me and I now look forward to concentrating on my game. I have now been advised by the doctor on ways to manage my asthma effectively.’ Wakefield based Geoff Burrow from the GMB’s sports section said: ‘GMB are only too happy to support Ian in his fight to clear his name. It is unfortunate that he has had this appeal hanging over him since the start of the season in September. However he has proved his strength of mind by continuing to perform well for Salford City Reds.’