18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Mr. Stevens supplied a sample after the Round 4 Heineken Cup Pool match between Glasgow Warriors and Bath Rugby at the Firhill Arena, Glasgow, on Sunday, 14 December 2008
ERC is now dealing with this matter in accordance with the Heineken Cup Anti-Doping Programme 2008/09.
ERC's anti-doping programme is based on the IRB Regulation 21 and WADA anti-doping code.
All clubs and players participating in the both ERC tournaments, the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup, must sign up to ERC's anti-doping programme. Doping Control testing is in operation throughout both tournaments.
Players' samples are divided into A and B samples and are then sent for testing at a WADA accredited laboratory.
If a player's A sample is found to contain a prohibited substance, details of the case are sent to an independent preliminary Review Board. The Review Board then determines in essence whether there is a case to answer. The Review Board does not have details of the player or club involved.
If the Review Board determines that there is a case to answer the case proceeds and the ERC Anti-Doping Manager contacts the club and player and informs them of the "adverse analytical finding". The player is then provisionally suspended from all rugby playing and rugby related activities pending the outcome of the case.
The player can then choose to ask for the B Sample to be analysed (within 14 days of notification).
If the B sample does not return the same adverse analytical finding then there is no case to answer. The player's suspension is then automatically lifted.
If the B sample does return the same adverse analytical finding then the player can request that the case goes forward to an independent Judicial Committee hearing.
Alternatively the player can accept the results of the A sample and can request the case move forward to an independent Judicial Committee hearing
Judicial Committees generally comprise three people - a senior legal practitioner as chairman, an experienced medical practitioner with experience of doping in sport and a second legal / medical person or an ex-rugby player / administrator.
The player has the right to appeal the decision of a Judicial Committee hearing to an independent Appeal Committee. He can subsequently appeal that decision to Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne.
If the player waives his right for the case to go forward to an independent Judicial Committee hearing he is deemed to have accepted that he has committed an anti-doping violation. In this instance an independent Judicial Committee will be convened to determine the sanction.