2 March 2020

Sun Yang to appeal eight year CAS sanction

Sun Yang is to appeal an eight year ban issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the international swimming federation’s (FINA) decision not to sanction him for refusing sample collection, due to testing procedures not being followed. Yang, his lawyer, and the Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) issued statements proclaiming the swimmer’s innocence, and vowed to support his appeal to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which will argue there are ‘procedural errors’ in the CAS ruling.

‘Mr Sun Yang did not have any part in tampering with the doping control process, or refusing to provide samples’, read a statement from Sun’s lawyer, Zhang Qihuai. It outlines that Sun ‘actively cooperated’ with the doping control officers (DCOs) from International Doping Tests & Management (IDTM), despite them not holding authorisation to conduct the tests. 

It said that Sun raised an objection after the DCO responsible for urine collection began taking photos on a mobile phone. This was the Doping Control Assistant (DCA) later revealed to be a construction worker. 

‘Due to the facts that the doping control officers did not have any valid authorisation, and that untrained and unqualified personnel were notified on short notice to participate in the testing, and that the urine sample collector violated the rules and took photos and videos, the doping control officer voluntarily abandoned the testing’, continues the statement. ‘The doping control officer agreed that the blood sample of Mr. Sun Yang would not be taken away and the doping control officer also proposed to separate the blood sample from the outer packaging. All parties involved signed on the spot to confirm these facts.’

‘We understand that the international swimming federation authorised sample collection agency IDTM to conduct an out of competition sample collection on athletes, without professional qualifications or professional training’, read a statement from the CSA, which outlined its support for Sun’s appeal. ‘This is illegal and invalid’. 

Sun Yang’s Weibo post…

‘I was shocked, angry and could not understand the ruling’, wrote Sun on Chinese social network Weibo. ‘I clearly cooperated actively in accordance with the various regulations on doping control, only because the inspectors were not qualified, and they acknowledged this at the time, so it was my fault to agree not to take the blood sample’. 

Doubt has already been cast on the idea that Sun’s blood sample was smashed with a hammer, as reported by The Sunday Times. The original FINA Doping Panel (DP) decision reveals that Dr. Ba Zhen, Sun’s doctor, retains possession of Sun’s blood. Qihuai’s statement reveals that the blood sample was separated from its packaging, after the DCO agreed that Sun’s sample would not be taken away.

‘Blood was collected but the blood container was destroyed and the collected blood was never sent to the relevant WADA accredited laboratory’, reveals the original FINA Doping Panel (DP) decision (PDF below). ‘The blood remains in the possession of the Athlete’s doctor’.

As such, it appears likely that empty blood sample containers were smashed to ensure that the DCOs could not take Sun’s blood away. It appears that Sun’s blood was withdrawn, but remains in the possession of Dr. Ba. If Sun’s case is about doping, it would be a relatively simple procedure to test it.

The CAS has yet to publish its decision. Sun’s appeal will be lodged before April. Presumably, this will clarify why such retesting of Sun’s blood hasn’t taken place.

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