Gabe Hamlin's doping charge - what happens next?

Wigan Warriors last night revealed prop Gabe Hamlin has been suspended by the RFL after being charged with a doping violation. When will we know more?

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 8:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 11:09 am
Gabe Hamlin is in the second year of a two-year deal
Gabe Hamlin is in the second year of a two-year deal

What is the process? Here's a Q&A guide to the process...

Has Hamlin failed a doping test?

That is the obvious assumption but we don't know for sure. Wigan's statement said he had been "charged with a UK anti-doping violation" - and not all UKAD's 10 violations are for prohibited substances.

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It also includes, for example, evading a test, possession of a prohibited substance or interfering with the doping process.

Hamlin will have been informed by UKAD what he has been charged with, a summary of the evidence related to the charge - and the consequences if found guilty.

Why have Wigan not revealed more details?

Because it's not for them to reveal. Wigan have been informed he has been suspended for a UKAD violation - which they confirmed - but their hands are tied until Hamlin has told UKAD his intentions.

His intentions?

Hamlin has until early next week to decide whether to accept the charge - and the punishment outlined to him - in which case, an 'agreed issued decision' will be published on the UKAD website.

Alternatively, he can dispute the charge. Any athlete charged with taking a prohibited substance, detected from a doping test, can request the B sample is tested.

The B sample?

After an athlete's sample (urine or blood) is taken it is sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab. The A sample is tested and a B sample is frozen.

If a 'B' test is requested and it differs from the original, the charge is withdrawn and the suspension lifted. But if the 'B' test confirms the findings of the original test, the athlete can either accept the charge (and consequences outlined to them) or request a hearing.

Hearings are usually heard by the National Anti-Doping Panel - run by independent body Sports Resolutions.

There, depending on the charge, an athlete has the right to dispute it, outline mitigation or ask for a reduced ban.

If found guilty, what punishment will he face?

It depends on the charge. Recent UKAD suspensions have ranged from four months to four years. Wigan player Zak Hardaker has recently returned to action after a 14-month ban for taking cocaine, a substance banned in-competition (meaning, if it is detected on match day).

How long before we know any more?

A timeframe is unclear. Hamlin will have a few days to decide whether to accept the charge or not, and we may know more early next week.

Either way, he is suspended from playing - he is currently home in Australia with his family. Wigan will stage their weekly press conference today when more details may emerge.

What has the RFL said?

There's been no official statement, but a spokesman confirmed details in Wigan's statement. The RFL says it follows UKAD guidelines on confidentiality.

Will this be the end of Hamlin's Wigan career?

If he is found guilty, possibly. The 22-year-old is in the last year of his two-year deal and he had indicated in earlier interviews that he was leaning towards returning to Australia to be closer to his family. But he hadn't ruled out extending for a year. Either way, Wigan say they will support him through this process and beyond.