luni, iulie 8, 2024

Simona Halep Allowed to Play in WTA after Court Reduces Suspension

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued the operative part of its decision in the appeal arbitration procedures CAS 2023/A/10025 Simona Halep v. International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) and CAS 2023/A/10227 International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) v. Simona Halep.

Simona Halep’s suspension was reduced from four years to nine months, starting from October 7, 2022, which means Simona can get back to playing tennis again.

The appeal procedures before the CAS concerned two separate charges

1. a charge which arose from a prohibited substance (Roxadustat) being detected in a urine sample collected from Simona Halep on 29 August 2022 during the US Open; and

2. a charge that Ms Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), particularly a blood sample given by Ms. Halep on 22 September 2022, established the use of a prohibited substance and/or method.

In its decision dated 22 September 2023, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Independent Tribunal found Ms Halep guilty of both Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRV) and imposed four years of ineligibility on her.

In the appeal filed by Simona Halep at the CAS against the first instance decision, Ms. Halep requested that the sanction be reduced and be no longer than the period of the provisional suspension already served. In its separate appeal, the ITIA requested that the CAS sanction Ms Halep’s ADRVs together as one single violation based on the violation that carried the most severe sanction and the imposition of a period of ineligibility of four to six years.

The CAS appeal arbitration proceedings involved intensive pre-hearing processes and a three-day hearing on 7-9 February 2024 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The CAS Panel heard from many lay and expert witnesses, most of whom were present in person at the hearing.

The CAS Panel has unanimously determined that the four-year period of ineligibility imposed by the ITF Independent Tribunal is to be reduced to a period of ineligibility of nine (9) months starting on 7 October 2022, which period expired on 6 July 2023.

As that period expired before the appeal procedures were even lodged with the CAS, the CAS Panel has determined it appropriate to issue the operative part of the Arbitral Award as soon as practicable, together with a comprehensive media release.

The CAS Panel has also ordered the disqualification of all competitive results achieved by Ms. Halep from 29 August 2022 (the date of her positive sample) to 7 October 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize money. Therefore, the appeal filed by the ITIA is dismissed, and the appeal filed by Simona Halep is partially upheld (her request to backdate the start of the suspension on 29 August 2022 is dismissed).

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