18th September 2019

CAS halves four year ban issued to Russian basketball player

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has halved a four year sanction issued to Roman Balandin (Баландина Романа) in April, after the basketball player returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for meldonium in April 2017. The decision means that the 22 year old is free to return to action, since his two year ban ran from 19 May 2017, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) confirmed. 

‘In the Award, the Sole Arbitrator specifically noted that this case appears to be one of very few in which an ADRV [anti-doping rule violation] involving a non-Specified Substance was found not to be intentional’, read a statement from SILA International Lawyers, which is understood to have represented the player. The CAS has not announced or published the decision.

Balandin’s club, Avtodor Saratov (БК «Автодор» Саратов), blamed the AAF on a former team doctor. “I do not absolve Roman from all responsibility”, said Vladimir Rodionov (Владимир Родионов), the club’s President, in a statement. “But the blame fo what happened in the first place lies with a former doctor of our team who was aware of the young player’s intentions, but treated them carelessly and did not prevent the violation of anti-doping rules and did not give the club’s management advance notice. 

“Meldonium is available to all and is sold in any pharmacy. I think two years away from basketball for its use is more than a serious enough punishment for unintentional action.

“In the first few days after receiving the decision from RUSADA we actively fought for Balandin by lodging an appeal with the CAS in Lausanne, which was granted. We are glad that we managed to bring the case to its logical conclusion and prove that the player’s fault was minimal. We are grateful to the CAS for its equitable solution and for agreeing with our arguments in a fair verdict. Balandin has the potential to be a national team player.”

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