When the DAC RUSADA’s decision to acquit Kamila Valieva was appealed by WADA, and then by ISU, it was absolutely logical. International instances appealed the verdict to CAS, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport registered two appeals.
But now there is a third one… RUSADA has appealed to CAS. And not with a request to acquit Valiyeva or to leave her the title of the Russian Champion. What had happened? Isn’t anybody confused?
“RUSADA is seeking the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the contested decision, find the athlete guilty of violating anti-doping rules and impose sanctions with appropriate consequences (which may include or be limited to a reprimand),” reads the official document on the CAS website.
But no one really got anything wrong.
The RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee is an independent body that investigated the skater’s case inside Russia. The committee admitted that she had violated anti-doping rules, but found no fault or negligence on Valiyeva’s part.
Thus, she was disqualified only for one day – the day of taking the unfortunate doping sample, which tested positive for trimetazidine on December 25. The title of Russian champion went to Alexandra Trusova (although the official federation did not confirm the reallocation of places), and the other medals – the gold of the European Championship and the gold of the Olympic team competition – remained in Kamila’s possession.
Obviously, RUSADA did not agree with the decision of its own disciplinary committee, as well as WADA experts and ISU officials did not agree with it.
But in the release it is emphasized that RUSADA is not asking for the maximum penalty for the figure skater, as foreign authorities. RUSADA’s appeal speaks of sanctions, which may include a reprimand.
If WADA insists on a four-year disqualification, and RUSADA insists on a guilty plea, but with a reprimand, it is likely that the arbitrators in court will make some average decision. Let’s assume that Kamila (and the ROC team) will have to part with her titles, but she will be able to continue competing without any problems, because the ban period is usually counted from the date of sample collection and a year has already passed.
Sports lawyer Anna Antseliovich broke down the situation.
“There are three parties appealing here. WADA said they’re asking for four years. That is, they felt there was no basis for any reduction at all, so they are asking for a standard sanction. The ISU said that they just want the decision to be reversed. This is the same position they took during the Olympics, when they were considering Kamila’s suspension.
As for RUSADA, based on their position, they believe that there was indeed no fault or negligence. But there was minor fault or negligence. They are claiming a warning or a reprimand. RUSADA believes that the point on slight fault and negligence should be applied: on its minimal part, it is slight minimal fault.
All of these procedures would be combined into one. There is no such thing as treating all three items separately. The athlete, the representative of RUSADA and WADA will be given the floor. All positions will be pursued. It is hard to talk about the chances, because we have not seen the case file, so it is hard to judge the success of one side or the other.
There is a legal possibility for the athlete to be warned. She is a protected person – there is a more flexible system of sanctions. Despite the fact that trimetazidine is not a special substance, Kamila can legally prove a minor fault and receive a warning. That is, legally, there is such a possibility,” said Antseliovich.
General Director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Veronika Loginova explained the situation around the doping case of figure skater Kamila Valieva.
“After studying the reasoning of the decision on this case made by an independent anti-doping dispute review body, RUSADA decided to exercise its right to appeal this decision to CAS,” said Loginova.
“Having studied the reasons for the decision, RUSADA believes that the athlete’s side failed to prove, at the level established by the rules, the complete absence of her guilt. As at the stage of submitting the case to the DAC, RUSADA is convinced that the athlete is guilty of violating the rules, but it is minimal, and a reasonable sanction could have been a warning.
RUSADA is not entitled to comment on the merits of the case at this stage and therefore cannot disclose the basis of its position and the sanction requested. RUSADA’s substantiated position has been submitted to the CAS for an objective and unbiased review by the arbitrators,” added the RUSADA CEO.