CAS Clarifies Sun Yang Hearing Timeline, Explains Inability to Expedite

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will “tentatively” hear the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal case against FINA‘s decision not to sanction three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang over his blood vial-smashing incident in September, and will announce the hearing date on its website when it becomes official, CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb told SwimSwam Thursday.

Agence France-Presse first reported last week that the hearing was expected to take place in September. CAS confirmed to SwimSwam in March that the anti-doping organization had indeed filed an appeal, but declined to provide any further details, such as when the appeal hearing will take place, citing the process’ confidentiality. Sun, 27, is reportedly facing a lifetime ban should WADA successfully appeal the decision.

While many expected Sun’s case to be heard before the 2019 FINA World Championships began this weekend, there was no effort from any involved party – WADA, FINA, or Sun’s camp – to expedite the process, Reeb said. He added that the duration of CAS proceedings mainly depends on parties (“whether they request extensions of time to file written submissions, whether they are available for a hearing, etc.,” he said), and that some procedures can take under three months while other have required more than six.

In order to speed up that timeline, everyone involved would have had to agree to it – it’s unlikely that Sun, of course, would have wanted to have the proceedings take place before Worlds – but again, neither the appealing WADA party or FINA even requested a faster process. Should CAS itself have stepped in to try to move up the hearing, it could have interfered with validity of the result, Reeb said, exposing it to yet further appeal.

Sun’s case has been ongoing for more than 10 months now. The world record holder in the men’s 1500 free nearly missed an out-of-competition doping test on September 4, 2018. He made the testers wait outside of his home for almost an hour, and then challenged whether the officials were genuine testers from the International Doping Tests and Management lab.

Reports surfaced alleging that Sun’s mother, after he broke a number of out-of-competition drug testing protocols, ordered security guards to smash a vial of his blood taken in a nearby clubhouse, according to witnesses. Dr. Ba Zhen, who supports Sun (and who like Sun has a history with doping), reportedly contacted Dr. Han Zhaoqi, the head of the Zhejiang Anti-Doping Center. Han told FINA that the nurse present didn’t have the necessary paperwork, and at a January 3rd hearing, the FINA doping panel ruled in Sun’s favor, stating that they would “never know” what had happened.

During the hearing, FINA – independent of its doping panel – officially sought for a harsher sanction for Sun, but the doping panel sided with the athlete, agreeing that there wasn’t evidence that the doping sample collector provided proper credentials. WADA has been claimed to be ‘furious’ over the ruling. They had 21 days following “the last day on which any other party in the case could have appealed” or 21 days “after WADA’s receipt of the complete file relating to the decision” to file the appeal case to CAS, and did so.

Sun’s lawyer Zhang Qihuai issued a statement to Xinhua News following The Sunday Times’ initial report on the incident, threatening to sue over defamation: “We reserve the right to file a lawsuit against the relevant international media which reports the incident,” the statement read.  It also accused The Times of reporting the news with a “malign intention” and “dubious motives,” and “infringing upon Sun’s privacy and reputation.” Shortly thereafter, the Chinese Swimming Federation published a statement of support for Sun, backing the defamation claims.

Following the intense public backlash to FINA’s decision, the organization issued a statement saying it “would not consider further speculation or hearsay on the matter.”

Last weekend, the Daily Telegraph obtained and published the full 59-page report detailing the incident, which you can read more about here.

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holden
3 years ago

Is Lance Armstrong Chinese? Give me a break take a look at the list of doping athelets in history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_athletics

The west invented doping! and fake news!

holden
3 years ago

Can’t beat Huawei, ban them; can’t beat Sun, ban him. Same logic

holden
3 years ago

If the west hates the guy so much, why not just murder him?

Dude
Reply to  holden
3 years ago

Wtf

yardfan
3 years ago

“Clean” swimmers never have a problem being tested anywhere or at anytime.

Bossanova
3 years ago

This is so confusing. Probably on purpose to muddy the waters. Sun Yang and company claims the testers never proved they were legitimate. Were they?

If so, it seems like any athlete could just refuse a test then claim the testers didn’t show the proper identification. At that point it just turns into a he said/she said situation.

Admin
Reply to  Bossanova
3 years ago

You’re right about the proper identification – that’s exactly what this is, a he-said/she-said. Although, I guess the tester could record themselves showing the proper identification. Regardless of what winds up happening with Sun specifically, I think this has exposed a weakness in the rules, and there needs to be either a new rule or a new process to address this situation.

Bossanova
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

It just seems like the burden of proof should be on Sun Yang. Just for example: If I were pulled over for speeding and I tear the ticket up and never pay, I don’t think later claiming that the officer didn’t properly identify themself would hold up, without some way of proving it I suppose.

Then again, I’m just a regular dude and Sun Yang is a superstar. Maybe that’s the real difference maker here.

Admin
Reply to  Bossanova
3 years ago

That’s an interesting analogy. One big difference is that Sun wasn’t written the proverbial ticket. It would be as if Sun refused to give the officer his Driver’s License because the officer didn’t identify himself. There’s also another substantial difference: the scale. Your speeding ticket is not on the same scale as a lifetime ban from one’s profession.

It’s a good point you bring up about the burden of proof. I think the reality is that it shouldn’t be assumed who has the burden of proof in this case. If this were a ‘criminal court,’ it would probably go to the Supreme Court to force a precedent for who that burden of proof belongs to. The ultimate outcome in a… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

An adendum: maybe there is a process for this, and the guy they called at the Zheijang Doping Lab failed to inform/enforce the process. If that’s the case, then that person should definitely be sanctioned.

sven
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Braden for God-King of the world 2020!

Scribble
Reply to  Bossanova
3 years ago

Sun Yang swims Worlds, then loses at CAS, appeals, swims Olympics, loses again after the Olympics and stealing more World and Olympic medals from clean athletes. We need more athlete representation on governing boards. I was very disappointed Janet Evans chose not to run and Neuberger of all people is going to run instead.

Bossanova
Reply to  Scribble
3 years ago

I appreciate your insight Braden.

JimSwim22
3 years ago

Was he tested soon after this incident?

holden
Reply to  JimSwim22
3 years ago

Of course not. This is not about whether he dopes. This is to defame and ban the guy. Remember the Bloomber article that says Huawei puts a backdoor on servers? Everyone denies it but the west owns the media and can say whatever they want.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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