15 Apr 2021
CAS 2020/A/7528 Christian Coleman v. World Athletics
World Athletics 2020 WA vs Christian Coleman
October 22, 2020
In June 2020 the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics reported an an anti-doping rule violation against the American Athlete Christian Coleman for his Whereabouts Filing Failure and 2 Missed Tests in a 12 month period.
Consequently the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal decided on 22 October 2020 to impose a 2 year period of ineligibility on the Athlete.
In First Instance the Panel rejected the Athlete's allegations that the authorities had developed a strategy in an effort to catch him out, and finds that he persisted in an exculpatory version of events as to what happened on 9 December 2019. The Panel deemed that the Athlete's behaviour was very careless at best and reckless at worst.
Hereafter in November 2020 the Athlete appealed the Decision of 22 October 2020 with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Athlete requested the Panel to set aside the Appealed decision and to impose a reduced sanction.
The Athlete did not challenge the Missed Test of 16 January 2019 or the Filing Failure of 26 April 2019. The challenge is
limited to the Missed Test of 9 December 2019. It follows that, if the Missed Test of 9 December 2019 is sustained, then there will be three Missed Tests and/or Filing Failures within a 12-month period and an ADRV will have been committed.
The Athlete asserted that the Doping Control Officer (DCO) did not do what was reasonable in the circumstances to locate the Athlete on 9 December 2019. Specifically because the World Athletics had instructed the DCO not to call the Athlete thereby precluding the DCO from doing what was reasonable.
World Athletics contended that the Athlete in fact was not home at any time during the 60-minute slot. Futher the DCO did what was reasonable in the circumstances to try and locate the Athlete at that time on that date. The fact that the DCO was instructed not to call the Athlete does not mean that the DCO failed to act reasonably.
The Panel concludes that, on 9 December 2019, the DCO did do what was reasonable in all the circumstances, given the nature of the residential premises and the time of day, to try to locate the Athlete at his home in Lexington, Kentucky. On the evening of 9 December 2019, the DCO knocked on the door and rang the bell in such a manner, as is accepted by the Athlete, that if anyone were home at the time they would have been made aware that the DCO was there.
The Panel is more than satisfied that, had the Athlete been at home, the attempts made by the DCO on the night in question would have been perfectly adequate to let the Athlete know that someone was at the door. Had he been at home and answered the door, the test could have been conducted without issue.
The Panel does not accept the Athlete's evidence and finds the Athlete's account wholly implausible. The Panel concludes that there was no evidence supporting any claim that the Athlete was at the location identified by him at any time during the 60-minute slot specified by him for testing on 9 December 2019.
By contrast the Panel holds there is no reason at all not to accept the evidence of the officers that they were at the Athlete's home on 9 December 2019 during the 60-minute slot.
The Panel considers the Athlete's conduct on 9 December 2019, and deems that the his degree of fault falls to be characterised as "medium", i.e. within the 16-20 months band, with a midpoint of 18 months.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 15 April 2021 that:
1.) The appeal filed by Mr Christian Coleman against World Athletics on 19 November 2002 is partly upheld.
2.) The decision of the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal on 22 October 2020 is set aside and replaced as follows:
Mr Christian Coleman has committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.4 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules and shall serve a period of ineligibility of eighteen (18) months as from 14 May 2020.
3.) The award is pronounced without costs, except for the Court Office fee of CHF 1,000 (one thousand Swiss Francs) paid by Mr Christian Coleman, which is retained by the CAS.
4.) Mr Christian Coleman is ordered to pay World Athletics a total amount of CHF 4,000 (four thousand Swiss Francs) as contribution towards the expenses incurred in connection with these arbitration proceedings.
5.) All other motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.