Romanian Weightlifting Federation suspended upon referral by the ITA

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The International Testing Agency (ITA) confirms that the International Weightlifting Federations’ (IWF’s) Member Federation Independent Sanctioning Panel has imposed a one-year suspension against the Romanian Weightlifting Federation as a consequence of numerous Anti-Doping Rule Violations.

Following its initial announcement about the referral of the case, the ITA has been informed by the IWF’s Member Federation Independent Sanctioning Panel (Independent Panel) that it has decided to impose a one-year suspension against the Federatia Romana de Haltere (FRH) as a consequence of multiple Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) committed by member athletes of the FRH.

According to the IWF Anti-Doping Rules (ADR, Article 12), Member Federations can be suspended, fined and/or have other privileges withdrawn when the athletes, officials or athlete support personnel (ASP) of the Member Federation are found to have committed ADRVs.

The FRH’s case is grounded on five ADRVs that were committed in 2012 by five different Athletes. The five ADRVs were for the presence of anabolic steroids detected in the athletes’ samples. Four of the ADRVs were in fact from the four athletes representing the FRH at the Olympic Games London 2012, namely Florin Croitoru, Gabriel Sincraian, Razvan Martin and Roxana Cocos. The Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) were only reported in 2019 as part of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) re-analysis program, carried out by the ITA.

After holding a hearing in the presence of the FRH and the ITA and reviewing the written submissions of the parties, the Independent Panel made the following findings:

–        The FRH has committed a breach of Articles 12.3.1 and 12.4 of the IWF ADR;

–        The FRH is suspended from participating in any activities for a period of one year, starting on the date of the decision (i.e. 15 June 2021). This suspension includes:

  • The right to participate at IWF Events with athletes and technical officials;
  • The right to organize IWF Events, IWF Congress, IWF Executive Board meetings, meetings of IWF Commissions and Committees;
  • The right to participate in the Congress with voting rights;
  • The right to submit proposals for inclusion in the Agenda of the Congress;
  • The right to take part in and benefit from the IWF Development program apart from education and anti-doping seminars; and
  • The right to submit proposals if any for modification of the IWF Constitution, Technical and Competition Rules & Regulations whenever requested.

–        The suspension can be conditionally lifted eight months after it was issued (i.e. on 15 February 2022), provided that the FRH fulfills the following criteria set out as a partial conditional reinstatement of its suspended rights:

–        FRH ensures that FRH ASP, such as coaches, and officials of the FRH in contact with athletes, have never committed anti-doping rule violations or acts that would amount to ADRVs but were not sanctioned for some reason; ergo, FRH is to remove from their FRH functions any ASP who have trained more than three athletes who have committed ADRVs in the past ten years;

–        No FRH athletes, ASP or officials receive notice of an AAF for a prohibited method or a prohibited substance that is neither a ‘Specified Substance’ nor a ‘Substance of Abuse’ or notice regarding Articles 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9 2.10 or 2.11 of the IWF ADR from now on and until the end of the sanction imposed by the Panel[1];

–        FRH ensures that its Registered Testing Pool athletes – not the FRH on their behalf – submit accurate, complete and timely whereabouts filings including accurate phone number and individualized email addresses for each athlete in ADAMS;

–        FRH ensures that it shares the dates and locations of training camps of the national team’s athletes with the ITA on a timely basis;

–        FRH makes its athletes and ASP available for an interview with the ITA, upon the ITA’s simple request;

–        The FRH leadership accept public responsibility to change the culture of doping in Romanian weightlifting;

–        FRH makes its athletes and ASP aware of the ITA’s confidential reporting platform ‘Reveal’, the FRH posts a link on its website to the platform, and the FRH athletes and ASP download the ITA’s Reveal reporting app (once available);

–        FRH ensures that its athletes and ASP attend one anti-doping education session hosted by the ITA (in Romanian) within the next six months and to bear the ITA’s related costs and the costs of ensuring that the athletes and ASP are available, if any;

–        FRH is to pay a 50’000 USD fine to the IWF by 1 October 2021 as a contribution to the IWF’s enhanced anti-doping activities, in accordance with a payment plan to be discussed and agreed upon between the parties;

The decision can be found here.

The sanction imposed against the FRH is consistent with the so-called “Tbilisi Decision”, where in 2016, further to the re-analysis program of samples collected during the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and London 2012, the IWF decided that Member Federations confirmed to have produced three or more ADRVs in the combined re-analysis programme of the Beijing and London Games would be suspended for a one-year period. The Member Federations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine have been sanctioned in accordance with the Tbilisi decision in the past years.

The Independent Sanction Panel Decision may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ITA will not provide any further comments.

The original article can be found here.

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