In a recent decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has dismissed Chinese Star swimmer Sun Yang‘s most recent appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s June 2021 decision, which banned Yang from competition for 4 years and 3 months. The recent ruling by the Swiss court means that Yang’s ban, which is active through May 28th, 2024, remains intact.
Yang’s complaints in his appeal against the CAS decision was two-fold. He argued that 1) CAS’ decision violated fundamental and widely recognized principles of public order, and 2) CAS had violated his right to be heard in the retrial of his case. Yang also argued that The World Anti-Doping Agency didn’t file their initial appeal to CAS in a timely manner back in 2019, but the Swiss court did not hear arguments on those grounds, stating that Yang’s objections in those regards would be “unfounded in any case.”
The Swiss court found both complaints by Yang to be “inadmissible,” according to the press release the Swiss Federal Supreme Court put out on the ruling. The court explained that they found no merit in Yang’s claim that the CAS decision violated fundamental and widely recognized principles of public order. They also ruled that CAS didn’t violate Yang’s right to be heard during their second ruling on the matter.
So, what does this mean? Essentially, this decision means that the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has rejected Sun Yang‘s appeal, and thusly, the reduced ban of 4 years and 3 months placed on Yang as a result of the second CAS decision stands.
Notably, the CAS decision means Yang’s ban is set to expire in May of 2024, which means he will be eligible for the Paris 2024 Olympics, should he choose to pursue competing in them.
If anyone is having trouble remembering how we got here, here is a brief timeline of the events leading up to this most recent ruling:
- 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.
- May 2021: Yang does not compete at the Chinese National Championships, amid uncertainty of the outcome of his CAS retrial.
- June 2021: CAS retrial results in ruling to reduce Yang’s ban to 4 years and 3 months