Conor Benn, the British welterweight boxer, has released a lengthy statement in which he claims lab errors caused his two positive drugs tests, and not any banned substance. In the statement, he also insists that it was not his idea to blame his failed drugs tests on high egg consumption.
Benn, who still faces the possibility of a two-year ban pending the outcome of a separate investigation by UK Anti-Doping, claims that there was never a banned substance in his system. His defence was geared towards discrediting fundamental flaws in the testing procedures at an unnamed laboratory.
Benn believes that lab errors caused him to test positive not once but twice, and that the substance was ‘never’ in his system. He did not name the laboratory where he alleges the mishandling of his samples occurred. Benn’s legal team had previously sought to get him off the hook by arguing against irregularities in the laboratory testing of his samples.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) recently permitted Benn to return to their rankings in a verdict that was met with incredulity after their investigation found ‘there was no conclusive evidence’ Benn deliberately ingested clomifene. The WBC’s findings went on to say that the fighter’s high consumption of eggs ‘raised a reasonable explanation’ for how the testosterone-boosting substance got into separate samples collected by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in July and September.
However, Benn has now issued a statement in which he claims eggs were never part of his defence. He claims that it was in fact the WBC’s own experts who put forward that egg contamination was most likely based on a study of his diet and nutrition.
Benn said: 'In my defence to the WBC and the 270-page report provided to them, at no point did I indicate that I failed any VADA tests because of contaminated eggs. As part of its lengthy investigation, the WBC instructed its own experts to review my supplements and diet, and they concluded that egg contamination was the most likely cause. Those experts have seen this issue arise in elite athletes across other sports, and I have no reason to question their analysis when it concludes that I am not a cheat.
‘However, I feel like the WBC statement did a disservice to my defence which was based upon a comprehensive scientific review of the testing procedures, which set out a number of reasons why we believed the results were completely unreliable and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that I am innocent.’
Benn also called attention to a major breach of his rights as an athlete when he claimed that his scientist was not allowed to be in the room when the test results came through. He believes that had it been necessary to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on this case to prove his innocence, that alone would have meant the test results were dismissed.
Despite Benn’s assertions, and indeed the contribution of the WBC’s own experts, he still faces the possibility of a two-year ban from boxing pending the outcome of UK Anti-Doping’s separate investigation.