CAS reduce Kendrick ban to eight months

Published 01 November 2011 | Authored by: Andrew Nixon

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month reduced the ban imposed on American tennis player Robert Kendrick from one year to eight months following an appeal by the player.

Kendrick tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine following the French Open in May. His case on appeal was that the substance was contained within medication he consumed to combat jetlag.

CAS accepted that Kendrick did not intend to enhance his performance levels; however, even taking this into account, it ruled that the ban should be reduced to 8 months, as opposed to the three months the player was seeking. Kendrick cited the recent case of Cesar Cielo, the Brazilian swimmer, to support his case for a reduction to three months. Cielo received a warning, rather than a ban from his national governing body, after he tested positive for furosemide at a meet in Rio in May 2011. FINA, Swimming's international governing body, appealed against the ruling but the appeal was dismissed by CAS, with CAS accepting the player's submission that he consumed the substance via a contaminated batch of a food supplement he regularly used. CAS' reasoning for endorsing the national governing body's decision to warn Cielo was that he took 'sufficient precautions' over the use of the food supplements which resulted in failed doping test. In the Kendrick case, CAS stated that the player did not show a comparable degree of caution when he consumed the jetlag medication as he relied not on pharmaceutical advice but on information provided via an internet blog. Kendrick will therefore not be able to return to competition until January 2012.

Comment
The Kendrick case highlights the risks athletes take when consuming medication. Indeed, although Cielo escaped with a warning, CAS made clear in its ruling that the use of food supplements by athletes was 'generally risky'.

Cielo was able to demonstrate that he had taken precautions; however, there are many examples of athletes, apparently innocently, consuming contaminated food or food supplements and not being in a position to produce evidence that they had taken proper precautions. As doping is a strict liability offence, the athlete can face an immediate two year ban. Even with the reduction, the doping ban imposed on Kendrick will have a catastrophic impact on his career in terms of his ability to recapture the ranking points necessary to gain automatic entry to grand slams and Masters Series events as well as his ability to generate commercial revenue and sponsorship.

Thomas Eggar's Sports Group advises athletes on doping matters. For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Author

Andrew Nixon

Andrew Nixon

Andrew Nixon is a Partner in the Sport Group at Sheridans. Referred to in this year's Legal 500 as a “very bright and talented sports lawyer” Andrew's practice focuses principally on regulatory, governance, disciplinary, arbitration and dispute resolution within the sport sector. Andrew's clients include governing bodies, sports clubs, sports agencies and individual athletes.

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