Editor's note: James Kitching is Legal Counsel and Secretary to the AFC judicial bodies at the Asian Football Confederation. James is an Australian and Italian citizen and one of the few Australians working in international sports law. He is admitted as barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia. James graduated from the International Master in the Management, Law, and Humanities of Sport offered by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport in July 2012.
On 12 May 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had filed
an appeal against the decision issued by the Australian Football League (AFL) Anti-Doping Tribunal (AADT) that thirty-four current and
former players of Essendon Football Club (Essendon)
had not committed any anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) identified within the AFL Anti-Doping Code (AADC). The players had each been charged with using
Thymosin-Beta 4 (TB4) during the
2012 AFL season.
On 1 June 2015, WADA announced that it had filed an appeal against the decision by the AADT to clear Mr.
Stephen Dank (Dank), a sports
scientist employed at Essendon during the relevant period, of twenty-one
charges of violating the AADC. Dank was, however, found guilty of ten charges and banned for life.
This blog will solely discuss the likelihood of the
first AADT decision (the Decision)
being overturned by the CAS. It will briefly summarise the facts, discuss the
applicable rules and decision of the AADT, review similar cases involving ‘non-analytical
positive’ ADRVs relating to the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited
method, and examine whether the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (CAS Code) is able to assist WADA in its
This blog will not examine the soap opera that was
the two years leading-up to the Decision. Readers seeking a comprehensive
factual background should view the excellent up-to-date timeline published by the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More...
The world of professional cycling and doping have been closely intertwined
for many years. Cycling’s International governing Body, Union Cycliste
Internationale (UCI), is currently trying to clean up the image of the sport
and strengthen its credibility. In order to achieve this goal, in January 2014
the UCI established the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) “to conduct a wide ranging independent investigation
into the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations
which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over
ineffective investigation of such doping practices.” The final report was submitted to the
UCI President on 26 February 2015 and published on the UCI website on 9 March 2015. The report
outlines the history of the relationship between cycling and doping throughout
the years. Furthermore, it scrutinizes the role of the UCI during the years in
which doping usage was at its maximum and addresses the allegations made
against the UCI, including allegations of corruption, bad governance, as well
as failure to apply or enforce its own anti-doping rules. Finally, the report turns
to the state of doping in cycling today, before listing some of the key practical
Since the day of publication, articles and commentaries (here and here) on the report have been burgeoning and many
of the stakeholders have expressed their views (here and here). However, given the fact that the report is
over 200 pages long, commentators could only focus on a limited number of
aspects of the report, or only take into account the position of a few
stakeholders. In the following two blogs we will try to give a comprehensive
overview of the report in a synthetic fashion.
This first blogpost will focus on the relevant findings and
recommendations of the report. In continuation, a second blogpost will address
the reforms engaged by the UCI and other long and short term consequences the
report could have on professional cycling. Will the recommendations lead to a
different governing structure within the UCI, or will the report fundamentally
change the way the UCI and other sport governing bodies deal with the doping
autumn 2011, the Finnish cross-country skier Juha Lalluka, known as a “lone-wolf” because of his training habit, showed an
adverse analytical finding with regard to human growth hormone (hGH). The timing
was ideal. As the FINADA Supervisory Body in view of the A and B positive
samples initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lalluka for violation of
anti-doping rules, the Veerpalu case was pending before the
CAS. At the athlete’s request, the Supervisory Board postponed the proceedings until
the CAS rendered the award in the Veerpalu
case. Indeed, on 25 March 2013, the CAS
shook the anti-doping order: it cleared Andrus Veerpalu of an anti-doping rule
violation for recombinant hGH (rhGH) on the grounds that the decision limits
set by WADA to define the ratio
beyond which the laboratories should report the presence of rhGH had not proven
Veerpalu precedent has become a
rallying flag for athletes suspected of use of hGH and confirmed some concerns raised about the application of the hGH test. Not surprisingly, Sinkewitz and Lallukka followed
the road that Veerpalu paved and sought to overturn their doping ban by
alleging the scientific unreliability of the hGH decisions limits. Without
success, however. With the full text of the CAS award on the Lallukka case released
a few weeks ago
and the new rules of the 2015 WADA Code coming into force, we grasp the opportunity to outline the ambiguous approach of CAS on
the validity of the hGH test. In short: Should the Veerpalu case and its claim that
doping sanctions should rely on scientifically well founded assessments be
considered as a fundamental precedent or as a mere exception? More...
Over the last twenty years,
professional cycling has developed the reputation of one of the “most drug
soaked sports in the world”.
This should not come as a surprise. The sport’s integrity has plummeted down
due to an unprecedented succession of doping scandals. La crème de la crème of
professional cyclists has been involved in doping incidents including Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Alejandro
and Lance Armstrong. The once prestigious
Tour de France has been stigmatized as a race of “pharmacological feat, not a
In view of these overwhelming shadows, in
International Cycling Union (UCI), in cooperation with the World Anti-Doping
Agency (WADA) took a leap in the fight against doping. It became the
first International Sports Federation to implement a radical new anti-doping
program known as the Athlete
Biological Passport (ABP).
On the 24th June 2014 the Spanish Audiencia Nacional issued its ruling on a hotly debated sports law topic: The
whereabouts requirements imposed to athletes in the fight against doping. This
blog aims to go beyond the existing commentaries (here and here) of the case, by putting it in the wider
context of a discussion on the legality of the whereabouts requirements. More...
come as a surprise to laymen, but chess players are subjected to doping testing.
Naturally, then, the questions follow as to why they are tested, and if they are
really tested (at least, with a level of scrutiny comparable to that which
physically-oriented athletes are regularly subjected). More...
Graph 1: Number of Cases submitted to CAS (CAS Satistics)
Since the landing on the sporting earth of the Übermensch, aka Usain Bolt, Jamaica has
been at the centre of doping-related suspicions. Recently, it has been fueling
those suspicions with its home-made scandal around the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission
(JADCO). The former executive of JADCO, Renee Anne Shirley, heavily criticized
its functioning in August 2013, and Jamaica has been since then in the eye of
the doping cyclone.
Beginning of April 2014, the Colombian Olympic
Swimmer Omar Pinzón was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of
an adverse finding of Cocaine detected in a urine sample in 2013. He got lucky.
Indeed, in his case the incredible mismanagement and dilettante habits of Bogotá’s
anti-doping laboratory saved him from a dire fate: the two-year ban many other
athletes have had the bad luck to experience. More...