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16th March 2018
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has overturned four-year bans issued to four footballers from Antigua GFC, the Guatemalan club confirmed in a statement. Alexander Robinson Delgado, Víctor Manuel Ayala, Alejandro Matías Díaz and José Leonel Aroche were sanctioned in June last year, after a Normalisation Committee appointed by FIFA found they had tested positive for SARM S-22.
FIFA had appointed the Normalisation Committee to allow the Guatemalan football association (FEDEFUT) to bring its Statutes into line with FIFA and CONCACAF requirements. That Normalisation Committee had taken the decision to sanction the players in June 2016, as this statement reveals. However, concerned by the players’ protests that they had been unfairly sanctioned, Guatemala’s sporting tribunal suspended the Normalisation Committee for six months.
On 15 September 2016, FIFA ordered that this decision should be reversed by 1 October, and the Normalisation Committee should be reinstated. FIFA later suspended FEDEFUT after it rejected FIFA’s extension of the Normalisation Committee’s mandate until 31 July 2017.
‘The case in question came from a collection of samples taken prior to the inauguration of the FIFA Normalisation Committee in Guatemala’, read a FEDEFUT statement. ‘The Normalisation Committee acknowledged from the outset that it was not an expert doping committee. FIFA then instructed the Normalisation Committee to appoint an expert doping tribunal.’
This tribunal consisted of Elvia Delfina Gonzalez and Jorge Gustavo Rehwoldt Castañeda (Judicial Association) and Dr. Carlos Federico Álvarez Arango from Guatemala’s sporting authority and its Olympic Committee. FEDEFUT said that this expert committee threw out the entire process, including the suspensions issued to the footballers. ‘As the deadline for lodging an appeal had expired […] all the players were given a temporary extension window, which allowed them to take action before the CAS’, continued its statement.
‘The nightmare is over!’ read a Facebook statement (below) from Alexander Robinson’s brother, Bertony Robinson. ‘My brother and his companions are declared innocent […] We are grateful to everyone who has supported us and even more so to those who have wanted to blacken by brother’s name, because that gave us strength to destroy the system. We made history.’
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