11th May 2021
The World Players Association today gave its support to Czech hockey player Jan Mandát and the Czech player association movement after Jan was wrongly given a 22 month ban after testing positive to a substance of abuse.
After widespread and sustained lobbying by health experts and player advocates, the WADA Code was amended from 1 January 2021 to ensure that players who test positive to a substance of abuse are diverted into a rehabilitation program and required to only serve a one month suspension. This addressed the manifest injustice of multi-year and career destroying bans being imposed on players whose health was being impacted by substances of abuse.
Even though Jan returned the positive test before the new provision of the WADA Code took effect, the well-established principle of sports law known as lex mitior applies to ensure that a player is not unjustly sanctioned under a draconian law that was about to be revoked.
Matthew Graham, World Players Director of Legal & Player Relations, said: ‘Players must be provided with the support they need in substance of abuse cases, including through effective treatment and rehabilitation. Players cannot have their careers unjustly destroyed by sports bodies treating substances of abuse in the same way as performance enhancing drugs. The decision must be corrected as a matter of urgency and we look forward to WADA lending its support to ensure this is the case.’