Sun Yang‘s return to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will take place during the week of May 24-28 with a hearing conducted over video conference.
CAS announced the details today in a press release which you can read here. An entirely new panel of three will hear the re-trying of the case. Hans Nater of Switzerland is the panel’s president and Jan Paulsson of France and Bernard Hanotiau of Belgium will also serve on the panel.
The president of the previous panel was removed after making racist remarks against China on social media. The other two members of the panel stepped down.
The hearing is the next step in a complex and winding legal process stemming from a September 2018 out-of-competition anti-doping test in which Chinese distance swimming star Sun challenged the credentials and authorization of doping control workers.
Sun was first cleared by an independent anti-doping panel within FINA. He was then banned for 8 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A Swiss Federal Tribunal accepted one of Sun’s appeals, overturning the CAS ban and sending the case back for a new hearing in front of a new CAS panel.
Here’s a summarized timeline of events in the case:
- September 2018: Sun challenges authorization of doping control agents during test, ending with a vial of his blood being smashed
- January 2019: an independent anti-doping panel rules in Sun’s favor, leading FINA (the international governing body for swimming) to not issue a sanction against Sun
- March 2019: WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) appeals that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
- November 2019: CAS hears the case in a fully-public hearing marred by translation issues. The full 11-hour hearing is live-streamed online.
- February 2020: The three-person CAS panel rules against Sun, banning him for eight years.
- July 2020: Sun files two appeals with the Swiss Federal Tribunal, hoping to either have his ban overturned or revised.
- December 2020: The Swiss Federal Tribunal overturns the ban, sending the case back to CAS for a second hearing. The decision centers around the first panel’s president, who tweeted racist comments about China on social media.
The May hearing will take place over video. The panel will not announce an award at the conclusion of the hearing, but at a later date.
The late-May timeline is significant given the case will have major ramifications on Sun’s eligibility to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, which start on July 24 – just two months after Sun’s second hearing.