IBSF 2017 Elena Nikitina, Mariia Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna, Aleksandr Tretiakov vs IBSF - Provisional Suspension #1

Decision of the IBSF Doping Hearing Panel in the matters of the [1#] provisional suspension of Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna, Aleksandr Tretiakov.

Two reports commissioned by WADA, published by Prof Richard McLaren as Independent Person (IP) on 18 July 2016 and 9 December 2016, showed detailed evidences of organised manipulation of some Russian samples collected during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The IP reports describe how urine bottles were opened and urine was switched with clean modified urine coming from a “biobank”, and how urine density had to be adjusted to match that recorded on the doping control form (if different at the time of collection) by adding salt to the sample.

As a result of the McLaren Reports the IOC Oswald Commission started investigations in order to establish the possible liability of individual athletes and to issue any sanctions so that decisions could be taken as far in advance of the 2018 Winter Games as possible. In the context of this Commission the IOC decided that all the samples of all Russian athletes who participated in Sochi were re-analysed. The re-analysis establish whether there was doping or whether the samples themselves were manipulated.

In December 2016 the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) was informed by the IOC that it had opened investigations related to an alleged anti-doping rule violation committee by the Athletes in connection with the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The IOC conducted further investigations after opening of the proceedings against the athletes.

As a consequence of the IOC investigations the IBSF notified in December 2016 the athletes Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna and Aleksandr Tretiakov that a [1#] provisional suspension was ordered. The athletes requested for a Provisional Hearing on 2 January 2017 and they were heard for the IBSF Doping Hearing Panel on 3 January 2017.

The athletes argued that they were not involved in in any anti-doping rule violation and not to play or have played any role in the allegations of tampering as mentioned in the McLaren Report ll and the notification letter of the IOC. They therefore requested the Doping Hearing Panel to lift the [1#] provisionary suspension.

The IBSF Doping Hearing Panel finds that on the one hand The McLaren Report ll makes crystal clear that athletes of all kind of sports in Russia were involved in the doping cover up and manipulation. On the other hand it made clear as well that it has not assessed the sufficiency of the evidence in each individual case.

Therefore the IBSF Doping Hearing Panel decides on 6 January 2017:

1.) Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to a fair trial and, in particular, guarantees the presumption of innocence until proved guilty. Article 3.1 of the ADR of the IBSF as cited above in paragraph 14 places in that context the burden of proof on the IBSF. ln cases as the subject where there are no Adverse Analytical Findings other means of evidence are needed to proof an anti-doping rule violation.

2.) The Doping Hearing Panel comes to the conclusion that Mclaren Report ll provides sufficient reason to conduct further investigation by both the IOC and the IBSF into the role of the athletes in "tampering or attempted tampering of any Doping Control", as being in line with article 3.1 of the ADR of the IBSF, but at the same time it comes to the conclusion that at this very moment there is not (yet) sufficient evidence against the athletes that would justify the [1#] provisional suspension. The Doping Hearing Panel invites the IOC to share any outcome of its investigation with the IBSF in order to potentially reconsider the position of the Athletes in this respect.

3.) The Doping Hearing Panel of the IBSF concludes therefore to lift the [1#] provisional suspension of Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna, and Aleksandr Tretiakov, with immediate effect as of the date of signing of this decision, with reference to article 7.9.3 sub 2(c) of the ADR of the IBSF. This Decision of the Panel is entirely without prejudice to the pending investigation of the IOC and does not, in any way whatsoever, preempt the outcome of such investigation.

4.) Parties did not request for any compensation of costs.

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Decisions International Federations
6 January 2017
Blackshaw, Ian S.
Di Gianfrancesco, Alessia
Segaar, Dolf C.A.
International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF)
Russian Federation
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Burdens and Standards of Proof
Circumstantial evidence
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European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
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Provisional Suspension
Bobsleigh and Skeleton (IBSF) - International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation
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International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Lausanne, Switzerland: Laboratoire Suisse d’Analyse du Dopage
Moscow, Russia: Antidoping Centre Moscow [*]
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