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WADA v. Sun Yang & FINA: Reflections of a Chinese lawyer & lessons for sports in China

WADA v. Sun Yang & FINA: Reflections of a Chinese lawyer & lessons for sports in China
Friday, 02 October 2020 By Guo Cai

This article examines the Sun Yang case from the personal perspective of the Author, a Chinese lawyer based in Beijing who made her way to Montreux, Switzerland and attended the 9-hour Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in person.  It offers the Author’s analysis of how the case unfolded, the conduct of the hearing, and most importantly, the lessons that can be learned for athletes, sports regulators, lawyers, and anyone caring about sports in China.  Specifically, it examines:

  • The reasons why Sun Yang lost his case at CAS
  • The factors that contributed to the eight-year ban
    • Conduct at the proceeding
    • Implausible case theories and lack of sincerity
    • The difficulties of a public forum
  • Could Sun Yang have argued his case differently?
  • Main lessons
    • Education for Chinese athletes and support staff
    • The win at all costs mentality and learning to deal with disputes
    • Constructive proposals for Chinese sports
  • Concluding remarks

For readers wanting a detailed review of the background, legal arguments and decision in the case, please refer to the LawInSport article[1] by Prof Jack Anderson.

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Guo Cai

Guo Cai

Ms. Guo Cai oversees the International Law and Sports Business practice, Jin Mao Law Firm, the first Chinese law firm to establish a practice dedicated to the sports industry. Ms. Cai graduated from Harvard Law School and China University of Political Science and Law. She also held an LLM in Human Rights (distinction) from the University of Hong Kong. Admitted to practice in China and the US (New York), Ms. Cai specializes in international dispute resolution and sports law, with the aspiration to grow with the Chinese sports industry and connect international best practice with sports in China.

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