21st September 2021

Sports Integrity Briefs – 21 September 2021

• A Spanish Magistrate has given UEFA five days in which to annul disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Juventus, reports AS. UEFA sanctioned nine of the 12 clubs involved in the European Super League (ESL) at the start of May, and opened disciplinary proceedings against the trio at the end of the month, after they refused to formally confirm their withdrawal from the project. In June, the UEFA Appeals Body temporarily suspended the proceedings against the trio following a previous ruling of the Madrid Commercial Court No. 17. Monday’s ruling confirms that the Madrid Court does not consider a temporary suspension of proceedings adequate – it requires UEFA to formally announce that it has terminated proceedings against the trio. It is understood that the Madrid Court considers UEFA’s actions a violation of European Union competition law.

• A four year ban issued to an American footballer has been reduced to one year, after the player provided substantial assistance to Anti-Doping Switzerland following an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for higenamine and heptaminol (or octodrine). The unnamed player was provisionally suspended on 29 December 2020 following an in-competition test during an Autumn Cup game, telling Anti-Doping Switzerland he drank from another player’s bottle without knowing the contents. ‘In light of the information provided by the athlete (substantial assistance in discovering an anti-doping rule violation), the DK [Swiss Olympic] reduced the ban so that the athlete was banned for one year instead of four’, read a statement. The player’s ban will expire on 30 December this year.

• The International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) has been forced to apologise to Johanna Färber for a second time, after complaints were made about inappropriate images broadcast during the women’s Boulder semi-final at the IFSC Climbing World Championships Moscow 2021. In June, Austrian broadcaster ORF issued an apology after a similar incident occurred during the IFSC World Cup in Innsbruck (see below).

Discovery+ will screen a two part 60min documentary titled ‘The Men Who Sold The World Cup’ from 21 October, reports BroadcastNow. Contributors include a whistleblower from the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup bid team; former FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter; Sunday Times investigators Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake; plus Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators. In 2015, investigative reporter Andrew Jennings produced a similar documentary for BBC Panorama ‘FIFA, Sepp Blatter and Me’.

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