19 Feb 2020
CAS 2018/A/5990 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) & Ruann Visser
In April 2018 the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) reported an anti-doping rule violation against the boxer Ruann Visser after his A and B samples, collected in February 2018, tested positive for the prohibited substance Stanozolol.
Howevere in September 2018 SAIDS informed the Athlete that it withdrew the charges against the Athlete. Accordingly the Independent Doping Hearing Panel (IDHP) of SAIDS decided on 5 October 2018 to acquit the Athlete.
In December 2018 the Lausanne Lab reported after a DNA cross-check analysis that the sample in question provided in February 2018 and the Athlete's sample provided in November 2018 came from the same male individual.
Hereafter in November 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed the IDHP Decision of 5 October 2018 with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). WADA requested the Panel to set aside the IDHP Decision of 5 October 2018 and to impose a 4 year periode of ineligibility on the Athlete.
In this case there were delays in the CAS proceeding attributed to the Athlete due the number of extensions he requested. Further he filed an exceptionally large number of letters with CAS, presented a number of procedural requests and arguments and appointed various witnesses and experts.
The Sole Arbitrator dealed with some issues of preliminary nature and ruled that SAIDS was properly named as a Respondent in this arbitration by WADA and therefore cannot be removed from the proceedings. Under the Rules WADA was allowed sample collection for purposed of DNA profiling as evidence in this case. Also due to the Athlete’s exceptional procedural conduct WADA was granted to amend its requested prayers for relief.
WADA contended that the presence of a prohibited substance had been established in the Athlete’s samples and accordingly that he committed an anti-doping rule violation. The test results were valid and WADA rejected the Athlete’s allegations that there had been several departures of the ISTI. Also the conducted DNA analysis was valid and it confirmed that the samples collected in February 2018 originated from the Athlete.
The Athlete asserted that more than 30 alleged departures occurred with respect to the different aspects of the doping control procedure:
- The Doping Control Station was not secure and doping control items were left unattended;
- The used Berlinger kits in question can be opened and re-closed;
- The Athlete’s signatures on the Doping Control Form are forged;
- The samples were not delivered immediately to SAIDS after the sample collection;
- Dispartity in the urine volumes;
- Disparity in the Stanozolol Concentrations;
- The DNA Cross-check Analysis.
After addressing the raised issues and evaluating the evidence in this case the Sole Arbitrator is comfortably satisfied that the Athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation and failed to establish, on a balance of probabilities, the the departures from the applicable rules had occurred. Neither was there a departure that caused a fundamental breach invalidating the entire sample or that it could have reasonably caused a positive test.
The Sole Arbitrator concludes that the Athlete has not met his burden of proof in establishing that the violation was not intentional. Finally the Arbitrator considers that no reason for fairness is engaged and that the Athlete had contributed to the delay of the CAS Proceedings.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 19 February 2020 that:
1.) The appeal filed on 6 November 2018 by the World Anti-Doping Agency against the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport and Mr Ruann Visser is upheld.
2.) The decision rendered on 5 October 2018 by the Independent Doping Hearing Panel established under Article 8 of the SAIDS ADR is set aside.
3.) Mr Ruann Visser is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and sanctioned with a four-year ( 4) period of ineligibility, starting from the date of this Award, with credit given for the provisional suspension already served by the Athlete (i.e. from 16 April 2018 to 27 September 2018).
4.) All competitive results of Mr Ruann Visser between 23 February 2018 and 16 April 2018 and from 10 April 2019 until the entry into force of this Award (inclusive of the dates specified) are disqualified, with all resulting consequences (including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes).
5.) The costs of the arbitration to be determined and served to the Parties by the CAS Court Office shall be borne by SAIDS and Mr Ruann Visser in equal shares.
6.) SAIDS and Mr Ruann Visser are ordered to pay CHF 5,000.00 (five thousand Swiss Francs) each to the World Anti-Doping Agency as a contribution towards its legal fees and expenses. SAIDS and Mr Ruann Visser shall bear their own legal fees and expenses.
7.) All other motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.