A positive test is the result of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) reported by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory and indicates the presence of a prohibited substance in the player’s urine or blood. This guide sets out the process ITIA must follow under the World Anti-Doping Code and outlines some of the ways individual cases and timelines may vary.
Tests are held throughout the year, and Players can be tested both in and out of competition at all levels of events. Tests can be urine, blood or Dry Blood Spot (DBS), after collection these are separated into A and B samples, assigned a unique sample code, sealed during testing and properly stored.
SAMPLES SENT TO THE LABORATORY
A WADA accredited laboratory will take samples for testing, which have been anonymized and processed using unique sample codes. The laboratory will test the A sample for substances on the WADA Prohibited List. Samples are usually tested within a month of supply by the laboratory, although in some cases this may take longer. The laboratories themselves are subject to rigorous and ongoing review by WADA to ensure that they continue to meet the requirements of WADA accreditations.
ADVERSE ANALYTICAL FINDING (AAF) REPORTED
If a prohibited substance is detected in a sample, the laboratory will aim to notify ITIA within two weeks of additional confirmatory testing.
ITIA will receive full details of the testing process and result, which will then be submitted to the independent Anti-Doping Review Board. This independent group of experts will confirm to ITIA if there is a situation that the player needs to respond to.
It is classified as ‘prohibited substances’.the specified items‘ and ‘substances not specified’ by WADA – this classification has an impact on the process and potential sanction in a player’s case.
COMMUNICATION HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED WITH THE PLAYER
The player will be contacted after the AAF results are confirmed.
Initially, the player a ‘pre-charge‘ Notice from ITIA that outlines its options as well as details about the next steps in their case. They are given the opportunity to describe the conditions that led to the AAF and are invited to have the B sample analyzed. Players have the right to attend this in person at the lab or to appoint a witness to attend on their behalf.
A player may be invited to interview an ITIA investigator at this stage (or later in the proceedings).
The player has two weeks to respond to the prepayment notification.
If possible, the player may also apply for a Historical Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from ITIA’s TUE Committee at this stage. The committee examines whether there is a valid therapeutic reason for the player’s use of the prohibited substance that gave rise to it. to the AAF. If the committee grants the player a Past Therapeutic Use Exemption, the case will be closed.
The presence of an unidentified substance in a player’s sample will result in a mandatory temporary suspension. At this point, the case is likely to be made public as any temporary suspensions will be announced by ITIA. In the case of the specified items, a player may agree to voluntary temporary suspension. Temporary suspensions may be credited against any final sanction.
ITIA will review the player’s response to the prepayment notice (if relevant) and other requests for information and/or interviews. He can then formally charge the player with the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). In the case of analytical findings (for example, AAFs from a laboratory), a player is likely to be charged with using/attempting to use and possession of a prohibited substance.
The player has 20 days to respond to the letter of accusation (this is also the point at which any temporary suspensions are made public) to verify whether they have admitted to any charges. Usually at this stage, a player will hire a lawyer to represent them.
PLAYER FULLY ACCEPT
If a player pleads guilty and thus avoids the need for a hearing, then they may receive a reduced sanction.
PLAYER PARTIALLY ACCEPT
If the player claims that ADRV was unintentional, they may also need to cite the explanation according to the source.
For example, if they claim that the supplements are contaminated, they will need proof of this. This can come in the form of external scientific testing of remaining and unopened new supplements, and ITIA may also conduct its own testing on supplements. This can be a lengthy process and may involve significant communication between the player and their representatives, ITIA, WADA accredited laboratories and other scientific experts who may need to be involved. Often times, players will request additional time to do this research and test their reinforcements.
DECISION AND SANCTION (for cases that do not go to court)
The sanction will depend on a number of factors, including whether the offense was intentional, the extent of the player’s fault or negligence, whether it was the player’s first violation, and the substance category (i.e., specified, unspecified, or substance). exploitation).
If a player denies the charge, a process begins where they must provide evidence explaining the AAF. Depending on the article, this can be a lengthy process involving important communication between the player and their representatives, ITIA, WADA accredited laboratories and other scientific experts who may need to be involved.
Once both parties are confident they have the evidence they need, an independent court convenes. ITIA uses the independent sports arbitration organization Sport Resolutions to conduct its hearings, and the panel usually consists of up to three legal experts unaffiliated with either party. A hearing can be held remotely or in person and is usually held over the course of a day – although it can be longer if it is a particularly complex or contentious case.
DECISION AND SANCTION – COURT
Once the panel has made its decision, ITIA will publish the decision on its website and via a media announcement.
Each party can appeal the decision of the independent hearing board of Sports Decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The CAS will hold another hearing to look at the evidence again and determine whether the appellant has shown that the outcome in the first instance court should be upheld or overturned. From a player’s or ITIA’s appeal to CAS’s decision, the process before CAS can take more than 12 months.
Tuesday, 09 May 2023