CAS 2015_A_4319 BWF vs IWF

CAS 2015/A/4319 Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation (BWF) v. International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), award of 15 February 2016 (operative part of 29 January 2016)

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Weightlifting
Disciplinary proceedings by an International Federation against a Member Federation
Unlawfulness of sanctions imposed by bodies lacking a legal basis to impose sanctions
Principle of ne bis in idem
Additional sanctions

1. If the rules of an International Federation foresee that its Executive Board may sanction a Member Federation for failure to comply with the regulations of the International Federation, in the absence of any delegation by the Executive Board to impose sanctions, no other body than the Executive Board may impose the sanctions foreseen on the Member Federation. If challenged, any sanctions imposed by any other body have to be set aside.

2. For the principle of ne bis in idem to apply there are three specific requirements to be fulfilled: an identity of the object, of the parties and of the facts.

3. In circumstances where an athlete is suspended from competing following an anti-doping violation committed by him and later on, the same athlete is prevented from taking part in the ensuing Olympic Games due to the fact that he is affiliated to a National Federation that has been banned from entering athletes for the Olympic Games because that National Federation has not been able to effectively fight doping within its organisation, no additional sanction is imposed on the respective athlete; this is because the athlete’s ban is not a direct consequence of the fact that he, individually, had committed an anti-doping rule violation. Put differently, the fact that the individual athlete is prevented from participating in the Olympic Games is a mere “collateral damage” that is justified by the overarching objectives to protect the values of sport and to ensure that general education is provided by National Federations to its affiliated members.
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In March 2015 the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) reported multiple anti-doping rule violations after the samples of 11 Bulgarian weightlifters tested positive for the prohibited substance Stanozolol. On 10 June 2015 the IWF Hearing Panel decided to impose an 18 month period of ineligibility on 4 Athletes for their second anti-doping rule violation and a 9 month period of ineligibility on the other 7 Athletes.

In this case the IWF accepted that the Athletes established that the positive tests were caused by contaminated food supplements, provided by the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation (BWF), which previously had been used without issues.

In July 2015 The Bulgarian 11 weightlifters appealed the IWF decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However the Panel decided on 6 October 2015 (CAS 2015/A/4129) to uphold the IWF Hearing Panel decision of 10 June 2015.

As a consequence the IWF decided on 9 Novemer 2015 to impose a $ 500,000 fine on the BWF. Further due to the multiple violations the BWF athletes were not allowed to participate in the next Olymic Games in 2016.

Hereafter in November 2015 the BWF appealed the IWF decision with CAS (CAS 2015/A/4319). The BWF requested the Panel to annul the fine imposed by the IWF and to allow the athletes to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Sole Arbitrator considered the lawfulness of the IWF decision of 9 November 2015 and concludes that the $ 500,000 fine imposed on the BWF has to be set aside. However it upholds the IWF decision not to allow the athletes to participate in the next Olympic Games.

Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that:

1.) The appeal filed by the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation on 30 November 2015 against the decision issued on 9 November 2015 by the President of the International Weightlifting Federation is partially upheld.
2.) The decision issued on 9 November 2015 by the President of the International Weightlifting Federation for imposition of a fine in the amount of USD 500,000 on the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation is set aside.
3.) The decision issued on 9 November 2015 by the President of the International Weightlifting Federation for imposition of a ban on the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation to “enter” competitors and/or to propose/recommend to the Bulgarian National Olympic Committee to enter competitors for the next ensuing Olympic Games is confirmed.
(…)
6.) All other motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.

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Type:
pdf

Parameters:

Legal
CAS Appeal Awards
Date:
29 January 2016
Arbitrator
Schimke, Martin
Source
Tribunal Arbitral du Sport (TAS) - Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
Country
Bulgaria
Language
English
ADRV
Adverse Analytical Finding
Legal Terms
Consequences to teams
Fine
Multiple Violations
Ne bis in idem
No intention to enhance performance
Principle of equality
Procedural error
Removal of accreditation for the Olympic Games
Rules & regulations International Sports Federations
Sole Arbitrator
Sport/IFs
Weightlifting (IWF) - International Weightlifting Federation
Other organisations
Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation (BWF)
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
Substances
Stanozolol
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Supplements
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