Sport

Dr Richard Freeman admits to string of charges at tribunal hearing

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman admitted a string of charges at a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester on Thursday.

Dr Freeman has revealed he ordered 30 sachets of the banned testosterone product Testogel in 2011, and then claimed they had been delivered in error to British Cycling headquarters.

He also admits lying to UK Anti-Doping in 2017 that the Testogel had been returned to supplier Fit4Sport, but he denies obtaining the gel knowing or believing it was to be given to an athlete to enhance performance.

Before proceedings were opened, Dr Freeman’s QC Mary O’Rourke revealed his defence team will question the credibility of former British Cycling and Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton.

Freeman continues to claim the Testogel was ordered for a non-athlete member of staff, namely Sutton.

O’Rourke said that on Monday she received information relating to Sutton which she is in the process of investigating but that she believes to be credible.

O’Rourke said: “I have seen enough to satisfy my duty as counsel to put further statements to Mr Sutton.”

She has also been trying to contact Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, before whom Sutton appeared, regarding potential additional information.

O’Rourke added: “I’m given to believe he received a quantity of information that did not get published in the report related to Mr Sutton.”

The QC could also press for an order to be made demanding a document from a national newspaper.

It had been expected that Sutton would be the only witness cross-examined by the defence, but O’Rourke is likely now to put questions to Dr Steve Peters, the former head of medicine at British Cycling.

O’Rourke added: “He might be able to assist us.”

The hearing is to determine Dr Freeman’s fitness to practise medicine, and he also admitted a range of charges in relation to his record-keeping and the treatment of non-athlete members of staff while he was at British Cycling.

Dr Freeman resigned from his position in October 2017, and a British Cycling statement read: “It is in the public interest and in the best interests of the sport that the allegations against Dr Richard Freeman are heard and examined openly by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

“British Cycling is a co-referrer in this case and we will continue to support the General Medical Council’s work, as there remain historic questions to be answered.”

O’Rourke, meanwhile, said she was “very disappointed” after the tribunal upheld an application from the GMC’s QC to amend two paragraphs of the allegation against Dr Freeman.

The amendment changes the wording of the allegation, which now reads that Dr Freeman obtained the gel “knowing or believing” it was to be given to an athlete to enhance performance, rather than that the doctor’s motive was to administer the gel to an athlete.

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