British shot putter banned for four years

Carl Fletcher is suspended until 2015 for trafficking performance-enhancing drugs

Posted on November 21, 2011 by
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Carl Fletcher (Mark Shearman)

Shot putter Carl Fletcher has been banned for four years after being found guilty of trafficking doping substances, UK Anti-Doping confirmed today.

Fletcher, 28, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court for drug offences, including supplying 16 types of class C substances. His offence involved the supply of a number of anabolic steroids, including testosterone, human growth hormone and Trenbolone, all of which are banned under the World Anti-Doping Code.

He was given a nine-month prison sentence and a four-year suspension from athletics until November 7 2015.

Fletcher, who competes for Woodford Green with Essex Ladies, finished third at this year’s UK Indoor Championships. He set a PB of 18.70m last year, improving by almost two metres in the space of two years. The performance ranked him fourth in the UK last year and put him at 20th on the UK all-time list.

Fletcher was part of a gang who were involved in supplying steroids. The group included two former police officers, one of whom was Fletcher’s uncle, David Fletcher.

“This case proves the invaluable role that law enforcement agencies have in the fight against doping in sport and demonstrates that our intelligence system is working effectively,” said Andy Parkinson of the UK Anti-Doping agency, whose intelligence unit worked closely with Merseyside Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) throughout the operation.

8 Responses to “British shot putter banned for four years”

  1. RunningDive says:

    If ever someone deserved a lifetime ban, this is it! It is strange that the professional athlete will be allowed to return to his profession in 2015. If anyone suggested that the ex policemen convicted in this case be allowed to return to the police force in 2015, they would not be taken very seriously. In any other profession, those found guilty of cheating; for example an accountant committing fraud, or a factory worker falsifying their timesheets; would not be permitted to return to their previous employment after a short ban. Those athletes cheating are committing fraud. They are denying honest competitors the fruits of their hard training and directly stealing both their medals and income. Instead of messing about with short bans those guilty of this grossly immoral practice should be banned from our sport for life, their records and titles expunged from the record, and face criminal prosecution.

  2. meme says:

    his dad is also an ex police officer, i wonder if they investigated him at the time too seems like a bit of a coincidence to me obviously passing a family business down, used to know his family this explains their violent mood swings.

  3. Geoff says:

    This is one of the most shocking cases to hit British athletics in recent years. It's not only he is an athlete but also the connection with former police officers that makes this somewhat disturbing. We also have to ask whether there is a link to other athletes and coaches within our sport?

    To my knowledge he never failed a drugs test but was this because he didn't use performance enhancing drugs or was he never tested or is testing failing to catch drug cheats?

  4. Judge Jeffries says:

    You honestly think that a shot putter could be a professional athlete in this country!!!!!!!!

    This guys profession is a gym owner, a bodybuilders and doorman gym, where in many cases drugs are not banned?
    There is nothing to suggest that athletes were involved, so what has iy got to do with athletics?

    And why should an athlete who has never failed a test, be given twice the sentence of someone who has? it's a nonsense.

    I hope that some sympathetic lawyer takes up his case and shows UKAD, that they cannot make the rules up as they go along….

  5. Observer says:

    The lynch mob are out in force, venting their spleen and ignoring the facts. Fletcher was charged with possession with intent to supply class C drugs, not with taking banned substances and he has never tested positive. The comparison between Fletcher as a professional athlete and other alleged "cheaters" is nonsense. Fletcher is not employed by any Athletic body and has never been lottery funded. His participation in athletics is of a voluntary nature, not a matter of employment. This is recognised by the governing body which stated, "Fletcher, who was provisionally suspended from all competition on 8 November 2011, is banned from participation in sport until 7 November 2015." When released from prison he will be free to resume his self-employment subject to the terms of his licence. He would be a fool to repeat the offence.

    Fletcher managed third place in the shot putt at the UK indoor championships in 2011. He was not tested positive. To suggest that those convicted of drugs offences (including those who have not been tested positive in competition) should be airbrushed from history is a nonsense of which Joseph Stalin would be proud. RD has overlooked the fact, for example, that many records set by East German athletes were suspect but that Katrin Krabbe's athletic career was ended when she was banned for taking clenbuterol which was not a banned substance at the time she took it!!!!

    RD's blanket ban on all and sundry would be a disservice to natural justice. Hopefully he is not one of those with the power of decision in such matters.

  6. Guilty says:


    Carl Fletcher, 28, of Old Road, Ashton, was jailed for nine months after admitting selling steroids from his shop, Flecks in Ashton.

    His barrister Adam Lodge told the court how the talented shot-putter foolishly resorted to using the drugs after failing to be selected for the Commonwealth Games.

    Mr Lodge told how he believed his competitors were using performance-enhancing drugs and decided to also try them in a bid to improve his chances.

  7. Geoff says:

    So Carl Fletcher, through his barrister, admitted using drugs to improve his shot putting. I note we also have a rugby league player, just about the worst offending sport in the country, involved in this sorry saga.

    I stand by my previous comment especially with the involvement of serving police officers.

    I wonder if we'll see others from athletics and rugby being charged with doping/criminal offences?

  8. RunningDive says:

    JJ, lets go through your post point by point.

    Firstly do I think that a shot putter could be a professional athlete in this country? By the definition of the term professional (oed. engaged in an activity as a paid professional rather than as an amateur) Fletcher is a professional unless he refuses prize money and other payments. More importantly a shot putter could well be a professional in this country if they were good enough to compete at a world class level. In this case they would have the same opportunities for lottery funding, prize money and endorsements as athletes in any other event.

    You say "This guys profession is a gym owner, a bodybuilders and doorman gym, where in many cases drugs are not banned?" It is against the law to both supply and consume many performance enhancing drugs. That is why Fletcher is serving a prison sentence. I can't think of extreme case of something being banned than it being a criminal offence!

    You then say "There is nothing to suggest that athletes were involved, so what has iy got to do with athletics?" Fletcher is an athlete, that, to me suggests that athletes were involved. It has been reported in the press and general media that Fletcher is a shot putter together with his offences. It has brought our sport into disrepute, and that, very simply, is what it has to do with athletics.

    You then move onto say "And why should an athlete who has never failed a test, be given twice the sentence of someone who has? it's a nonsense." Fletcher has admitted to taking drugs following his failure to make the commonwealth games team. Offence one. Two year ban. Fletcher has been convicted of supplying performance enhancing drugs. Offence two. Two year ban.

    What it boils down to is that this individual is both a criminal and a cheat. He was well aware of the rules and laws and chose to flout them. Do we really want this type of individual in our sport? I certainly don't and know that the vast majority of the athletes coaches and officials that I've known in the thirty five years I've been involved in and followed athletics would agree.

    Observer, I would not ignore the fact that there are many suspect records from East Germany, and many other countries, and where there is good evidence, think that they should be erased from the record. This is not Stalinesque, it's simply a desire to have a clean sport where young athletes do not feel pressurised into taking substances that substantial evidence suggests are detrimental to their long term health.

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