The CAS annuls the suspension of Charline Van Snick
Lausanne, 4 July 2014 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision following the appeal filed by the Belgian judoka Charline van Snick against the decision issued by the Executive Board of the International Judo Federation (FIJ) in December 2013, recognizing the judoka guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (cocaine).
The CAS has recognized the existence of an anti-doping rule violation, but has partially upheld the appeal of the athlete, considering that she was probably the victim of sabotage. Consequently, the CAS has maintained the annulment of the results obtained by Charline van Snick during the Judo World Championships in Rio de Janeiro 2013, but has annulled the two-year ban imposed by the FIJ against the athlete.
On 26 August 2013, Charline van Snick participated in the judo World Championships in Rio de Janeiro/Brazil in the category -48 kg. After her victory in the bronze medal bout in her category, the Belgian judoka underwent an anti-doping control which revealed the presence of cocaine metabolites. The analysis of the B sample having confirmed the presence of cocaine, the Executive Board of the FIJ disqualified the athlete from the World Championships 2013 and suspended her for a period of two years.
On 29 January 2014, Charline van Snick filed an appeal at the CAS to request the annulment of the sanctions, considering that she was the victim of sabotage and was not guilty of any fault or negligence. A hearing took place on 16 May 2014 at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne in the presence of the athletes and of the FIJ representatives, as well as of their respective counsels.
The arbitral Panel in charge of this matter has examined the arguments of the parties and has first noted that the presence of cocaine in the athlete’s body was established, even in a very low quantity, and that it constituted a violation of the applicable anti-doping regulations. Furthermore, it has concluded that the athlete was not a cocaine consumer, neither regularly, nor occasionally, and that the voluntary consumption of such substance during the judo World Championships was highly unlikely.
However, the arbitral Panel considered that the existence of sabotage against the athlete was the most likely scenario, taking into account some troubling facts brought to the knowledge of the Panel during the procedure, in particular the existence of a complaint for harassment filed by the athlete against a member of her entourage and, following the positive anti-doping test, of a criminal complaint against X (currently under investigation). The arbitral Panel has considered that the scenario of sabotage by a malicious third party was, following the standard of the balance of probabilities, the most likely scenario. Taking also into account the very low quantity of cocaine metabolites detected and the likely chronology of events, the arbitral Panel has considered that Charline van Snick was not guilty of any fault or negligence in the light of Articles 10.5.1 of the World anti-doping Code and of the FIJ anti-doping rules.
Since the violation of the anti-doping regulations in competition is established, the articles 9 of the World anti-doping Code and of the FIJ anti-doping rules impose the annulment of the results obtained by the athlete during the World Championships 2013 and all consequences deriving thereof. However, the two-year suspension is annulled by the CAS.
The full award with the grounds will be published at a later stage on the website of the tribunal (www.tas-cas.org
; Tel: (41 21) 613 50 00; fax: (41 21) 613 50 01, or consult the CAS website: www.tas-cas.org