26th July 2017

CAS exonerates Adel Mechaal regarding whereabouts failures

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has exonerated distance runner Adel Mechaal after he was sanctioned with a 15-month ban for three whereabouts failures, which is equivalent to an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) under the World Anti-Doping Code. Despite being named parties in the case (TAS 2017/A/4967), neither the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or the Spanish anti-doping agency (AEPSAD) have communicated details of the exoneration, which Mechaal announced via Twitter (see below). ‘The decision of the CAS confirms that I have not committed a violation of the doping rules in relation to the existence of failed controls, as has always been maintained’, it reads.

The sole Arbitrator ruled that Mechaal could not be blamed for two of the three failures, accepting his explanation that they were caused by system failures in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) used to locate athletes for testing, reported Marca. Under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), which is mandatory for Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) that have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code, ADOs must establish a Test Distribution Plan (TDP) including a Registered Testing Pool (RTP). ADOs are given discretion as to who should be included in that RTP, but it should include elite athletes from which the ADO plans to collect more than three out-of-competition (OOC) samples per year.

Under the ISTI, athletes included in the RTP are required to provide ‘whereabouts’ information each quarter of the year through ADAMS, indicating in advance where they will be available for testing for one hour each day (although the locations can be later amended). Under Article 2.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code, ‘any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures’ in 12 months constitutes an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).

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