Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua is reporting that a Swiss Tribunal has overturned an eight-year ban on distance swimmer Sun Yang. WADA, a party in the case, suggests the case will return to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with a new chairperson.
In February, Sun was banned for eight years over an out-of-competition doping test in which Sun challenged the credentials of doping control officers. The test ended with a vial of Sun’s blood smashed before doping control agents could take it away for testing.
The international swimming federation, FINA originally sought a ban against Sun, but an independent doping panel cleared him. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed that decision to CAS, culminating in a live-streamed November 2019 hearing that was marred by frequent translation issues. CAS ultimately handed down an eight-year ban for Sun.
But he appealed that decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. In April, he filed an appeal asking the Swiss Federal Tribunal to completely set aside the ban. In June, he filed a second appeal asking the Tribunal to revise the ban.
Reports: Sun’s Revision Upheld, Ban Set Aside, Matter Returns to CAS
State-run Chinese media outlet Xinhua published a very brief report today, announcing that the Swiss Federal Tribunal had “overturned” the CAS decision.
The Swiss Federal Tribunal decision is not publicly available yet. But WADA, the party opposing Sun in the case, published a press release acknowledging that the Swiss Federal Tribunal had upheld a “revision application” filed by Sun and had “set aside” his eight-year ban. You can see that WADA release here.
WADA says the Swiss Federal Tribunal decision “upholds a challenge against the Chair of the CAS Panel and makes no comment on the substance of this case.” WADA’s release suggests that the Swiss Federal Tribunal decision will send the case back to CAS for a second hearing with a different chairperson heading the CAS panel.
“In the CAS award, WADA clearly prevailed on the substance of the case as it was able to show that there were a number of aspects of the original FINA decision that were incorrect under the World Anti-Doping Code and the related International Standard for Testing and Investigations,” WADA says in its release. “WADA will take steps to present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS Panel, which will be chaired by a different president.”
It appears Sun Yang‘s saga will continue, potentially with a second CAS hearing.