Rugby topped the charts for TUE steroid use in Ireland last year.
In 2015, 43 TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) were granted across all sports in Ireland, a slight increase on the previous year, and 28% of those went to rugby players.
A TUE permits an athlete to use a prohibited substance or method if the substance or method is medically required. Athletes can only get a TUE if there is no unfair advantage from taking the substance or using the method.
The use of TUE’s has been a hot topic of discussion in rugby recently with three Racing 92 players including Dan Carter recently in the public eye for steroid use which are thought to be sanctioned under TUE terms.
An anonymous Russian hacking group, calling themselves ‘Fancy Bears’, has leaked information about TUEs granted to athletes, a move thought to be in response to revelations about Russia’s state-sanctioned doping.
Sport Ireland appointed an eight-strong committee to review every TUE application and the 43 approvals came from 75 requests.
Many of the 32 turned down were rejected on the basis that the medications were never or were no longer on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list and therefore no exemption was required.
Of the 43 granted, 28 per cent – or 12, were rugby to players.
In this context, rugby covers international teams across men’s and women’s teams at all age grades up to full international and the provincial sides. That’s a pool of less than 500 players.
Whilst the use TUEs is inside the law and no one using them is accused of cheating, they are still for many people a grey area.
Rugby – 28%
Athletics – 19%
GAA – 9%
Cycling – 7%
Motorcycling – 6%
Motorsport – 6%
Soccer – 4%
Ladies football – 4%