15th May 2021

Sports Integrity Briefs – 15 May 2021

• The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has welcomed a Decision from the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) to reject Alex Schwazer’s appeal against a July 2016 ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which sanctioned him with an eight year ban. Schwazer was seeking to suspend the ban in order to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, after he was exonerated of doping by Bolzano prosecutor Walter Pelino, who accused WADA and World Athletics of procedural fraud, passing his findings to Italy’s  State prosecutor. A detailed article on the background to Schwazer’s case is available here, WADA’s response to Pelino’s ruling is available here, and analysis of WADA’s response is available here. The SFT can only overrule CAS Decisions if it finds the way in which an issue is arbitrated contravenes Swiss law – it cannot reconsider the facts of a case.

Antidoping Switzerland has fined and sanctioned a recreational athlete with a warning, after the country’s federal customs administration (FCA) seized 180 tablets of DHEA posted to a the athlete and forwarded them to the Agency. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland. Use of synthetic or man made versions of the anabolic agent is prohibited in sport. In addition, DHEA’s use is prohibited under the Swiss law on sport and exercise (SpoFöV). Antidoping Switzerland said that this was its first case under the Swiss Doping Statute, which came into force in January, and allows it to issue a final sanction if it is accepted by the person concerned. That Decision is notified to national and international sports associations as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and can be appealed. Antidoping Switzerland destroyed the DHEA.

• The recommendations of the Contaminants Working Group set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in January 2019 are to be considered by WADA at its Foundation Board and Executive Committee meetings on 20/21 May, according to a report in the New York Times. A number of athletes have been sanctioned after testing positive due to contaminated meat, tap water, medication, or food.

• Interested parties will have until 28 May to register any objections to the UK government temporarily suspending competition law to allow the FA Premier League (FAPL) to renew its broadcast deal without a tender process, a letter from the Government outlines. In a statement, the FA Premier League welcomed the Government’s in principle approval of the FAPL’s request, which would allow it to renew its contract with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport for an additional three year period from 2022/23 for the same amount of money as the current deal. If there are no objections and the Government grants the Exclusion Order, the FAPL has committed to guaranteeing existing funding levels for the football pyramid until the end of the 2024/25 season (£1.5 billion over three years); maintaining this level of funding even if the FAPL rights values in the rest of the world decline, but increasing it if they rise; and providing a further £100 million in solidarity payments over the three year period.

• The Betting & Gaming Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Betting Integrity Agency (IBIA) to work together to promote sporting integrity. The MOU will involve ‘sharing information and intelligence about relevant sports betting markets, launching research studies in areas of mutual interest, and delivering effective messages and approaches’, read a statement.

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