While it has been previously reported that Sun Yang’s eight-year ban was overturned by a Swiss Tribunal, the Swiss Federal Court has now issued a press release confirming that racist comments made towards China by the chairman of the three-member panel responsible for the original ban are the source of the overturning.
A multiple-time Olympic champion, Sun Yang was originally given an eight-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last February. The ruling was made following an out-of-competition doping control test at which Sun destroyed samples, arguing that those who were testing him were improperly certified.
Following the ruling, lawyers representing Sun appealed to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, presenting proof that panel chairman Franco Frattini had previously made racial remarks in regards to China on social media.
In the case at hand, the arbitrator had taken up the cause of animal protection in the contested tweets. In principle, an arbitrator can also defend his convictions on social networks, but with the restraint required of judges. The choice of words and the repeated use of violent expressions is problematic in the specific case. In his tweets, the arbitrator castigates a Chinese practice of dog slaughter and denounces the consumption of this meat at a local festival in China. Some expressions refer to the skin color of certain Chinese people he targets. In addition, the arbitrator also made the said remarks in tweets after his appointment as president of the panel of arbitrators deciding in the Sun Yang case. In view of all the relevant circumstances, the Federal Supreme Court, therefore, considered that the doubts as to the impartiality of the arbitrator were objectively justified.
Per Xinhua, a state-run Chinese media outlet, the racist comments made by panel chairman Franco Frattini included:
“This yellow face Chinese monster smiling while torturing a small dog, deserves the worst of the hell!!!”
“Hell forever for those b*****d sadic (sic) Chinese.”
With Sun’s “revision application” appeal upheld, his eighth-year ban will now be set aside pending a second trial. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stated at the time of the decision that the decision was not influenced by the substance of the case and that they intend to present the same case in front of the new CAS panel.