Lausanne, 5 November 2013 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The CAS has determined that the player had committed a doping offence, but that his fault was not significant, and has decided to reduce the suspension imposed by the ITF Anti-doping Tribunal (IADT) from 18 months to 12 months.
On 15 April 2013, the player was randomly selected to provide urine and blood samples after his first round match at the Monte Carlo tournament. Mr Troicki provided a urine sample but did not give a blood sample. The circumstances of the failure to provide a blood s ample are disputed by the player and the doping control officer (DCO) and led to a decision by the IADT in which the player was sanctioned with an 18-month ban for an anti-doping rule violation.
The player appealed the IADT's decision to the CAS on 6 August 2013 arguing that he be fully discharged since he did not, either intentionally or negligently, refuse or fail to provide the required blood sample, or, at the very least, that the period of ineligibility be reduced according to the principle of "No Significant Fault of Negligence". In reply, the ITF stood by the IADT decision and requested that the appeal be dismissed in its entirety.
The arbitration procedure was referred to a panel of CAS arbitrators (Mr Yves Fortier QC, Canada (President), Prof. Lucio Colantuoni, Italy, and Judge James Robert Reid QC, UK), who heard the parties, their witnesses and their legal representatives at a hearing held at the CAS headquarters on 9 October 2013.
The CAS Panel considered that the DCO should have informed the player in clearer terms of the risks caused by his refusal to undergo a blood test but that, despite the misunderstanding between the player and the DCO, there was no suggestion that Mr Troicki intended to evade the detection of a banned substance in his system. The CAS Panel determined that Mr Troicki did indeed commit an anti-doping violation and that in light of the circumstances of the case and the fact that there is no significant fault, the just and appropriate sanction was a period of ineligibility of 12 months commencing on 15 July 2013, which is the minimum in such a situation in accordance with the applicable ITF anti-doping rules.