Subirats Free To Go - Questions For CAS
Aug 26, 2011 - Craig Lord
The era of professionalism in swimming has not quite dawned - and if it had, then the Venezuelan swimmer Albert Subirats would surely now be engaging lawyers to sue for restraint of trade in the midst of a muddle of inconsistent decision in the realm of anti-doping.
In short, Subirats missed the world championships last month because he was reported to have missed three anti-doping tests. In fact, his federation failed to file the paperwork, and FINA did what it had to do in such cases: follow the letter of the law because that is the fair thing to do. Now, CAS says that Subirats was not to blame and he is free of his year-long suspension and free to race on.
FINA today issued the following statement.
Lausanne (SUI), August 26, 2011 - Following the information appeared in some media related with the case of swimmer Albert Subirats (VEN), FINA would like to clarify that:
1. According to a FINA Doping Panel decision on June 21, 2011 , a one-year suspension was imposed to swimmer Albert Subirats (VEN) following three whereabouts failures;
2. The swimmer appealed of this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), in accordance with FINA Rules;
3. The CAS Arbitrator, on August 25, 2011 decided to cancel the FINA sanction and to waive any suspension to swimmer Albert Subirats (VEN).
All of that unfolded against a backdrop of the latest four Brazilians to return positive doping tests, among them Cesat Cielo (BRA), who, courtesy of a CAS ruling, did get to race at the world championships and took home a couple of dash crowns.
The questions for CAS and all involved in seeking fairness and more rigour in the anti-doping system is clear:
Some argue that such cases show that individual cases and circumstances count while others note that precedent is also at play in such cases: swimmers now know that if they find a doctor to say they were psychologically vulnerable for a few weeks one year or if a federation fails to file paperwork in time, three strikes and you're out is no longer worth the paper it is written on.