News 20th April 2016

Sports Integrity Briefs – 20 April 2016

• Tennis umpire Denis Pitner has been suspended from officiating on the sport for 10 years after being found guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct for Officials, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has said in a statement. Pitner’s certification was suspended for 12 months in August last year after he was found to have sent information on the physical well-being of a player to a coach during a tournament and of regularly betting on tennis matches. Despite this suspension, Pitner worked at the US Open and successfully applied to work at both the Qatar Open and Wimbledon Championships, all of which qualified as breaches of the Code of Conduct.


38 people have reportedly been detained in Turkey as part of a match-fixing investigation by police. According to The Hurriyet Daily News, ‘police conducted simultaneous raids in 28 provinces’ against suspects who reportedly had links with terrorist organisations in both Turkey and the USA. According to the Associated Press, the 38 arrested are suspected of ‘framing’ players and officials from top-flight football club Fenerbahce who had been implicated in a high-profile match-fixing case dating back to 2011. The case appeared to have culminated in October last year with the acquittal of a number of prominent suspects by an Istanbul court.


• Russia is reportedly set to announce new anti-doping reforms in a bid for its athletes to be allowed to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. According to the BBC, all Russian track and field athletes who aim to compete at the Olympics will ‘undergo a minimum of three independent anti-doping controls’ to be carried out by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In March The Sports Integrity Initiative reported another of the proposed reforms, that two independent international experts would be stationed in would be stationed in Moscow to oversee the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). RUSADA is currently deemed to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, while the the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) remains suspended from the IAAF.


• The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is reportedly set to hold hearings in May on the ‘doping cases of 12 Russian track and field athletes hoping to compete at the Olympics’. The Associated Press has reported that some of these athletes have agreed to a fast-track single CAS hearing without an appeal stage in order to try and ensure that they can compete at the Olympics if the ruling goes in their favour.


• The Head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), a branch of the Russian Government, has reportedly said that the classing of meldonium as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was ‘politically motivated’. According to TASS, the Russian news agency, FMBA’s Head Vladimir Uiba, speaking at a board meeting, said that the FMBA’s research showed that it takes at least six months for meldonium to dehydrate and leave the body, which is longer than WADA recognises. Uiba reportedly suggested that WADA’s actions were in retaliation to Russia’s ‘triumph’ at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

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