New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder, who has been suspended for six months after he failed a doping test for banned stimulants, on Tuesday said he was devastated by the situation.
"Jesse Ryder has been banned from playing cricket for six months after testing positive for two prohibited substances contained in the weight-loss product, Gaspari Detonate," the New Zealand Cricket Players´ Association said in a statement.
"Routine drug tests conducted at the Basin Reserve on March 24 identified the prohibited substances N-alpha-diethyl-benzeneethanamine (DEBEA) and 1-phenylbutan-2-amine (PBA) in Ryder´s sample," it said.
"He was informed of the positive test on April 12 and appeared in a hearing with the Sports Tribunal earlier this month," read the statement.
Ryder accepted a preliminary suspension on Apr 19 and will be eligible to play again on Oct 19.
Ryder commissioned his own ESR analysis, which traced the DEBEA (and its resulting metabolic PBA) to the weight-loss product he was taking at the time.
In the statement issued by the New Zealand Cricket Players´ Association, Ryder: "I´m devastated by this situation. I´ve never taken drugs and to be in this situation distresses me greatly. I simply took the supplement alongside a training programme I was completing to help me lose weight.
"I have attended anti-doping education seminars during my time in cricket and am a strong supporter of Drug Free Sport New Zealand. I´m aware of the precautions you need to take; I did take steps to check the supplement but ultimately it was my responsibility and I accept that," he said.
"Whilst everyone is aware of my well documented battles with alcohol, it´s important for me to state that I abhor drug use of any kind, both recreational and performance-enhancing in sport," the cricketer said.
In his judgment, tribunal head Alan Galbraith QC held there was no intent to cheat; that some effort was made to ascertain the safety of the product and that the penalty imposed reflected this.
"...the Tribunal is more than comfortably satisfied that Mr Ryder´s taking of the two capsules on 19 March 2013 was without any intent at all to enhance sports performance in the cricket game which he subsequently took part in on 24 March 2013," wrote Galbraith.
"Mr Ryder was correct in his belief that the ingredients as listed both on the internet and on the label of the product were not on the Prohibited List...Unfortunately the product did contain the banned substance DEBEA which was not listed in either the internet or label schedule of ingredients," Galbraith said.
Ryder´s legal counsel, Simon Moore, QC described the judgment as a fair one.
"Some may think this decision overly lenient; others that it is pretty tough. But what needs to be remembered is that the Sports Tribunal is required to impose penalties against both local and international case comparators," Moore said.
"I think it´s got the balance dead right," Moore said.
NZCPA chief executive Heath Mills said it had been a disappointing experience for everyone involved.
Ryder accepted the penalty imposed and would not appeal the judgment.