CAS 2007/A/1399 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) & Maria Stadnyk
Swiss Federal Court 4A_416_2008 Maria Stadnyk & Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation vs WADA & FILA
March 17, 2009
WADA’s obligations with respect to decisions taken by associations and federations
CAS power of review
Precondition to the defence of No Significant Fault or Negligence
Sanction in case of delays in the process not attributable to the athlete
1. There is no obligation for WADA to inform itself on an ongoing basis about decisions that are going to be taken by associations and federations. Rather, federations, such as FILA, obligate themselves to report on compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code in order to keep WADA updated (according to Article 17 of FILA Anti-Doping Regulations). It cannot possibly be expected of WADA to monitor the web sites of sport associations in order to find out whether any sanctions have been suspended. As a matter of practice, it is also often impossible for WADA to monitor such decision-making processes as these proceedings and decisions are not necessarily displayed on websites.
2. According to Article 57 of the CAS Rules, a CAS panel is entitled to review the case de novo and the athlete’s rights are preserved notwithstanding how the earlier decision-making process took place within the first instance.
3. Establishing how a prohibited substance entered an athlete’s system is a fundamental precondition to the defence of “no significant fault or negligence” under the applicable rules.
4. According to the applicable Anti-Doping Regulations, delays in the hearing process or other aspects of Doping Control not attributable to the athlete, the federation concerned or the Anti-Doping Organization imposing the sanction may start the period of ineligibility at an earlier date commencing as early as the date of sample collection. Fairness does require that the period of ineligibility starts earlier if – for reasons beyond the athlete’s control, notably linked to the fact that WADA was informed very late about the decision under appeal and therefore this proceeding began later and linked to the fact that the number of questions raised by this case made the CAS proceedings more protracted than usual – the athlete had to live with the uncertainty of whether s/he could prepare for and validly participate in qualifications for the Olympic Games, despite this being a particularly important event in any athlete’s career.
On 31 May 2006 the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) decided to impose a 1 year period of ineligibility on the Ukrainian wrestler Maria Stadnyk after her sample tested positive for the prohibited substance Furosemide. At that time she was registered with the Ukrainian Wrestling Association and later registered with the Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation.
After deliberations between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and FILA the case was reopened and on 4 September 2006 a sanction of 2 years was imposed by FILA. However on 20 June 2007 the FILA Appeal Commission decided to reduce the sanction and to impose a 15 month period of ineligibility on the Athlete. Here new evidence was introduced that showed that the Athlete’s drink was spiked by another Athlete.
Hereafter in October 2007 WADA appealed the FILA decision of 20 June 2007 with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). WADA requested the Panel to set aside the FILA decision of 20 June 2007 and to impose a 2 year period of ineligibility on the Athlete.
WADA contended that the Athlete tested positive for a prohibited substance and that she failed to establish how the substance entered her system nor that she established No Fault or No Significant Fault.
The Athlete denied the intentional use of the substance nor that she had problems to fit into her weight category. She asserted that the evidence demonstrated that another Athlete spiked her drink.
The Panel considered the coinciding statements and testimony of the Athletes in question and the certain points of relevance. Here the Panel finds on balance that it is improbable that the Athlete’s drinking water was spiked with Furosemide by another Athlete as alleged while it is more probable than not that the other Athlete did not sabotage the Athlete’s drink. As a result the Panel concludes that the Athlete failed to establish how the substance entered her system nor that she establish No Fault or Nog Significant Fault.
Therefore on 17 July 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides:
1.) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has jurisdiction to decide the present dispute.
2.) The appeal filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency on 11 October 2007 is admissible.
3.) The World Anti-Doping Agency's appeal is granted.
4.) The decision of FILA, dated 20 June 2007, is set aside.
5.) Ms. Maria Stadnyk is sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility, starting on 26 April 2006 and having expired on 25 April 2008.
6.) All results obtained by Ms. Maria Stadnyk in any competitions between 26 April 2006 and 25 April 2008 are disqualified and any medals, points or prizes obtained are forfeited.
7.) The Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation shall pay to WADA an amount of CHF 5,000 (five thousand Swiss Francs) as compensation for fees and expenses incurred in connection with this atbitration.
8.) The award is rendered without costs, except for the CAS office fee that is retained by CAS.
9.) All other prayers for relief are dismissed.