CHINESE swimmer Sun Yang has had his eight-year ban for doping violations referred back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the Swiss Federal Supreme Court upheld his appeal against the ban on the grounds of bias by one of the CAS panel.
The decision could potentially clear the way for Sun to compete at next year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics, depending on when the case is heard. Sun was banned for eight years by CAS in February after it accepted an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency against a decision by swimming body FINA to clear him of wrongdoing for his conduct during a 2018 test.
Sun appealed that decision and the Swiss court confirmed yesterday that it had upheld a challenge against the CAS panel “on the grounds of bias of one of the arbitrators of the CAS.”
“The award of the CAS is set aside. The CAS will have to render a new award in the case of Sun Yang in a different composition of the panel,” it said.
WADA said it would “present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS panel, which will be chaired by a different president.”
The New York Times reported Sun’s lawyers had successfully argued to the tribunal that the head of the CAS panel had made public comments that expressed anti-Chinese sentiments.
Chairman of the three-judge panel, former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has upset Yang and his legal team for a series of past tweets, including one from July 3, 2018 that read: “Hell forever for those bastard sadic chinese who brutally killed dogs and cats in Yulin, with the complicity of the chinese authorities!!!”
CAS is sport’s highest tribunal but its decisions can be appealed to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which can rule on procedural issues but not the substance of the case.
Sun, the reigning world and Olympic champion in 200m freestyle, was banned after he and members of his entourage were found to have smashed vials containing blood samples taken at an out-of-competition test in September 2018.
Sun has questioned the credentials and identity of the testers and has constantly proclaimed his innocence.