WADA backs USADA’s jurisdiction in Armstrong/USPS doping investigation
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

WADA backs USADA’s jurisdiction in Armstrong/USPS doping investigation

by Shane Stokes at 5:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
World Anti Doping Agency rejects UCI’s claims and instructs it to co-operate

WADAThe World Anti Doping Agency WADA has warned the UCI to back off on its claims of authority and jurisdiction in relation to the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service investigation, writing to its president Pat McQuaid and also issuing a public statement making its position clear.

It has urged the UCI to support USADA in its investigation of the case, and said that it considers the American agency to be compliant with the WADA anti-doping Code, both now and in the past.

“WADA has followed with interest the recent communication from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) questioning the latter’s jurisdiction in the pending case against Lance Armstrong and five other individuals involved with former American cycling teams.

“WADA can confirm that it has written to UCI President Pat McQuaid stating that it disagrees with the comments made by the UCI in its statement of August 4, and that as the independent agency responsible for leading the fight against doping in sport WADA has urged the UCI to reconsider its position and provide ‘all support to USADA in the conduct of this case, including all documents required by them’.”

The letter, which is strong in tone and unambiguous in its message, makes clear that it considers the UCI to have been acting out of place in its recent communications to USADA.

Although McQuaid had initially indicated that USADA had jurisdiction, he sent two letters to USADA on July 13th and said that the UCI wanted to take over the case. It also asked USADA to turn over its entire case file.

When USADA replied and rejected this, stating that it believed it had jurisdiction, the UCI replied in turn with several different legal arguments and claims. It said that it wanted the Court of Arbitration to Sport to study the evidence and decide jurisdiction, and also commanded USADA to halt all investigation

“In the meantime and until further notice UCI denies USADA any authority to act or proceed on the basis of ADR [anti-doping regulations] or any other rule of the UCI or otherwise on behalf of UCI and/or USA Cycling. We inform USA Cycling accordingly,” he stated then.

WADA’s letter to McQuaid today has made clear where it stands on the matter, as it explained in its statement. “In a letter of August 7, WADA Director General David Howman explained that article 15.3 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) gives USADA the jurisdiction to bring a case against the six individuals involved, and that the UCI had misinterpreted its own rules in light of the Code,” it wrote.

“As clarified in the WADA letter, Article 15.3 states that the Anti-Doping Organization (ADO) “which discovered the violation” must have results management authority, and not the ADO which discovered the first shred of evidence which then led to the discovery of violations.

“The letter highlighted the fact that as a signatory to the Code, USADA has adopted in its protocols substantive anti-doping rules from the Code, as has the United States Olympic Committee, the umbrella body of both USA Cycling and USA Triathlon under which Mr. Armstrong competed.

“It was also pointed out that there is no provision within the Code that allows the UCI to interfere with the USADA case based on the UCI’s own rules.”

Far-reaching case could have major consequences:

On June 29th Armstrong, former US Postal Service general manager Johan Bruyneel, doctors Michele Ferrari, Pedro Celaya and Luis Garcia Del Moral plus the coach Pepe Marti were all officially charged with a range of doping-related offences.

Ferrari, Del Moral and Marti failed to respond to the charges and were handed lifetime bans on July 10th. Bruyneel and Celaya opted to go for arbitration and will face hearings in the coming months, while Armstrong has tried to overturn the charges in a federal court.

The latter case is now being considered by the judge, with a ruling expected soon. If the case proceeds to arbitration, which both WADA and USADA feel is the correct course of action under the Code that the UCI and other signatories must follow, then Armstrong could face a lifetime ban plus the loss of some or all of his Tour de France titles. Bruyneel and Celaya could also face serious consequences.

However depending on how the investigation plays out, the UCI could also find itself under scrutiny. It has been accused of accepting a bribe from Armstrong to cover up a positive EPO test in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, although it denies this.

At the time, IOC member Hein Verbruggen was president. The Dutchman, who said in the past that he considered Armstrong a friend, has asserted that the Texan never doped. That assertion now raises questions about how partial an investigation conducted by the UCI would be, given that one of its most powerful figures has laid out his position prior to seeing the evidence USADA said it has gathered.

Providing the case goes forward for arbitration, the rider’s history will be thoroughly examined and it will be determined if he did indeed ride clean. It will also determine if he encouraged and facilitated others to dope, as Landis, former US Postal Service team-mate Tyler Hamilton and others have suggested.

WADA ends today’s statement with a backing for how USADA carries out its work. “The letter also confirmed that WADA regularly reviews USADA’s processes and has consistently found them to be compliant with the Code, and that the UCI has in the past been satisfied with USADA’s results management and its due process, citing the cases of Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis,” it wrote.

“Furthermore, Mr. Howman points out that nowhere in the Code is an ADO required to “turn over its witnesses and evidence in advance of the arbitration process”, as the UCI claimed in its letters.”


Also see: Armstrong/US Postal case:
UCI’s jurisdiction claims further undermined by Landis timing
 

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