Lausanne, 21 December 2020
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by the Brazilian judoka Rafaela Silva against the decision taken by the International Judo Federation (IJF) Hearing Panel on 22 January 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which a two-year period of ineligibility was imposed on her and her individual and mixed-team results at the 2019 Judo World Championships as well as the result obtained by her at the 2019 Brasilia Grand Slam were disqualified further to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). The CAS Panel has confirmed the Challenged Decision in its entirety.
On 9 August 2019, Rafaela Silva underwent an anti-doping control during the 2019 Panamerican Games in Lima, Peru, after competing in, and winning, the final bout in the -57kg category. Laboratory analysis of the sample revealed the presence of Fenoterol Metabolite, a specified substance prohibited both in and out-of-competition in the 2019 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances and methods. On 31 August 2019, Rafaela Silva underwent another doping control at the 2019 Judo World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. The sample analysis returned a negative result. On 23 September 2019, the PANAM Sports Organization, organizer of the Panamerican Games, notified Rafaela Silva and the IJF of its decision to disqualify Rafaela Silva from all competitions in which she participated during the Lima 2019 Pan American Games and ordered the athlete to return the medal that she won in the -57 kg event of the judo competition. On 22 January 2020, the IJF Hearing Panel issued the Challenged Decision.
In her appeal to the CAS, Rafaela Silva requested that the Challenged Decision be set aside and replaced with a new decision in which no fault or negligence was attributed her and in which either no sanction, or the minimum sanction of a warning, would be imposed on her, on the grounds that she was unintentionally contaminated with the prohibited substance by contact with her roommate during the Panam Games and/or with supporters. A hearing was held with the parties by video-conference on 10 September 2020.
The CAS Panel in charge of this matter could not find that Rafaela Silva had discharged the burden which lies upon her to establish by a balance of probability the “route of ingestion” for the prohibited substance. Accordingly, the Panel was unable to either reduce or eliminate the sanction imposed on her in the Challenged Decision.