27 Jan 2020
CAS 2019/A/6112 WADA v. RANAD & Anda-Mihaela Vâlvoi
On 18 January 2018 the Hearing Commission of the National Anti-Doping Agency Romania (ANAD) decided to impose a 4 year period of ineligibility on the Romanian sambo Athlete after her sample tested positive for the prohibited substance Furosemide.
The Athlete appealed and on 16 October 2018 the ANAD Appeal Panel decided to set aside the Decision of 18 January 2018 and to acquit the Athlete.
In first instance the Athlete had accepted the test result, denied the intentional use of the substance and requested for a reduced sanction on the grounds of No Significant Fault or Negligence. During the Appeal Hearing she argued that during the sample collection process procedural flaws occurred that would annul the testing and finding of an anti-doping rule violation.
Hereafter in January 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to appeal the Decision of the ANAD Appeal Panel with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The case was settled by the Sole Arbitrator based on the written submissions of the Parties.
WADA requested the Panel to set aside the Decision of 16 October 2018 and to impose a 2 year period of ineligibility on the Athlete. WADA contended that the Athlete had committed an anti-doping rule violation and failed to produce any evidence that the alleged departures of the ISTI reasonably could have caused the adverse analystical finding.
WADA asserted that the Doping Control Officer (DCO) in question had testified that the partial sample equipement was sealed in the presence of the Athlete before she left for the medal ceremony. Furher the Athlete had never explained how the prohibited substance had entered her system or the source of the positive test.
The Sole Arbitrator finds that the analytical results showing the presence of Furosemide in the Athlete's sample are valid and that the Athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation.
Whereas the Athlete had not argued, explained or proven how the contended departure from the ISTI could have reasonably caused the advers analytical finding the Sole Arbitrator finds that evidence of a departure of the ISTI is insufficient for finding an annulment.
To the contrary, the Athlete had not contested the positive test, nor did she contend that the sample was manipulated in her absence from the doping control station or that it was not even her sample. She even declined to the opportunity to have the B sample analysis and to DNA testing, thereby demonstrating that she did not think that the sample was not hers.
Even if the sample collection procedure had not been in compliance with ISTI, such non-compliance would not be sufficient to invalidate the results as the Athlete has not even attempted to show or establish that the alleged procedural failures had resulted in the positive test.
Finally the Sole Arbitrator deems that Athlete has not shown that she bears No Fault Or Negligence or that her fault or negligence was not significant in relationship to the anti-doping rule violation, and that as a consequence, the period of ineligibility should be eliminated or reduced.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 27 January 2020 that:
- The appeal filed by WADA on 25 January 2019 against the decision rendered by the Appeal Panel of RANAD on 16 October 2018 is upheld.
- The decision of the Appeal Panel of RANAD of 16 October 2018 is set aside.
- Anda-Mihaela Vâlvoi is suspended for a period of two (2) years commencing on the date of this Award.
- Any period of provisional suspension or ineligibility effectively served by Anda-Mihaela Vâlvoi shall be credited against the total period of ineligibility to be served.
- All competitive results obtained by Anda-Mihaela Vâlvoi between 17 September 2017 and 18 January 2018 are disqualified with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes.
- The costs of the arbitration, to be determined and served to the Parties by the CAS Court Office, shall be borne by RANAD.
- RANAD is ordered to pay WADA a total amount of CHF 4'000 as contribution towards the expenses incurred in connection with these arbitration proceedings).
- All other motions or prayers forrelief are dismissed.