Suspended Italian footballers may get last minute reprieve

March 12, 2009

disciplinary, Doping

Source: http://www.tas-cas.org/en/infogenerales.asp/4-3-3042-1092-4-1-1/5-0-1092-15-1-1/ ; http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=622094&&cc=5739 ; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/european_football/article5671739.ece; http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/7907742.stm ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/gordonfarquhar/2009/02/wada_not_wavering_on_whereabou.html

The full text of CAS 2008/A.1557 WADA v. CONI, FIGC, Daniele Mannini & Davide Possanzini can be downloaded from here:  http://www.tas-cas.org/recent-decision

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will now re-open the proceedings of the two Italian footballers (Daniele Mannini & Davide Possanzini) who last month were awarded a one year competition ban after arriving late for a drug test in 2007. Both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Italian Professional Football Association (FIGC) had indicated that they would not stand in the way of any appeal.

In the original case both Mannini and Possanzini were banned for 15 days by the Italian Olympic Committee, however this suspension was appealed by WADA, who argued that the usual punishment was 2 yrs. The court accepted this, but reduced the ban to one year to reflect the fact that the players bore “no significant fault” for providing a late sample.

The incident happened on 1st December 2007, when both players were ordered to attend a drugs test to give blood and urine samples. En route to the test though, they were ordered by both the President of Brescia and the Brescian coach to attend a post-match dressing down following the club’s third successive defeat and this detour made them 10-25 minutes later for the drugs test.  The door to the dressing room was subsequently blocked from the inside which prevented the doping control officers from gaining access to keep the players in visual control.

Indeed, Michel Platini (President of UEFA) hit out at the original decision at a news conference, stating that:  “This decision was simply scandalous. Football has to find a way to fight back against Wada, who do as they please, when they please. It’s the same with the ‘whereabouts’ rule. I totally support the recommendation not to follow Wada’s code. Wada can find footballers for 330 days out of the year. I think they have a right to be left alone for one month each summer.”

Unsurprisingly, WADA responded to these (somewhat naive) comments arguing that for any testing to be effective, you can’t just take 30 days out and call it a ‘holiday’. As Gordon Farquhar (the BBC’s Sports News & Olympic Correspondent) says, all sports are equal but some sports (*cough*  football and tennis  *cough*) think they are more equal than others!

For what it’s worth, I hope that the two Brescian footballers escape a ban as they were only following team orders, and that any penalty should be on Brescia rather than specific individuals. That said I think football has to decide whether it follows ALL of WADA’s rules or goes its own way, it can’t pick and choose the rules it likes, and discards the rules it doesn’t.

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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One Comment on “Suspended Italian footballers may get last minute reprieve”

  1. Kris Says:

    Okay another sports law joke I couldn’t resist, this one courtesy of the Daily Telegraph:

    The Premier League has come up with a cunning plan for playing its controversial ’39th game’, (the money-spinning competitive match between English clubs on foreign soil).

    It’s called the Champions League final.

    Reply

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