Armstrong/US Postal case: UCI’s jurisdiction claims further undermined by Landis timing
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

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

by Shane Stokes at 8:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
International Tennis Federation backs USADA over Del Moral ban

usadaWADA’s rebuke today of the UCI’s claim of jurisdiction in the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service investigation has made clear that the agency has over-ruled the governing body’s claim that an April 30th email put it in charge.

In a letter sent to the US Anti-Doping Agency last week, the UCI identified this email from Floyd Landis, which laid out allegations of doping against Armstrong and other riders plus officials on the team, as the ‘discovery point’ under which it based its claim of jurisdiction on.

“The only thing that results clearly from the USADA protocol is that USADA has jurisdiction in relation with testing conducted by USADA,” stated UCI president Pat McQuaid. “For the rest USADA might possibly claim results management jurisdiction if USADA shows that it discovered the anti-doping rule violation that it is prosecuting: article 15.3 of the Code.”

That Code states the following:

‘Except as provided in Article 15.3.1 below, results management and hearings shall be the responsibility of and shall be governed by the procedural rules of the Anti-Doping Organization that initiated and directed Sample collection (or, if no Sample collection is involved, the organization which discovered the violation).’

The UCI continued by saying that as USADA didn’t tell the UCI what information it had, that the governing body essentially didn’t believe it.

“We cannot comment upon your claim that USADA discovered evidence of anti-doping rule violations before the e-mail of Mr Landis of 30 April 2010 or discovered evidence after that email. As you do not disclose that evidence, we cannot take your claim into account.

This was despite the fact that WADA had indicated last month that it expected co-operation in relation to worldwide bans, clearly a reference to USADA’s sanction against three of the six charged in connection with the US Postal Service case, namely Michele Ferrari, Luis Garcia Del Moral and Pepe Marti. That statement was seen as a reflection of WADA’s support for USADA’s process.

A clearer backing was made today.

How does USADA have jurisdiction?

Contrary to the UCI’s assertion that Landis’ April 30th email was the first revealing of information in relation to the case, VeloNation understands that Landis met with USADA to discuss the issue a full ten days earlier, on April 20th. Prior to that, he was in communication with the agency and also provided information then.

Before that point, USADA has indicated that other important information was acquired, pointing this out in a letter sent by its senior counsel William Bock to McQuaid on July 26th.

“The facts alleged by Mr. Landis are not the first facts, nor are they even close to being the only facts, upon which USADA’s cases against the Respondents are based,” he wrote then.

“As USADA’s notice and charging letters of June 12 and June 28, 2012 make clear, the information provided to USADA by Mr. Landis (which goes far beyond the contents of the April 30, 2010 email) is just a small fragment of the evidence of the numerous anti-doping rule violation that were committed by the Respondents.”

The US Postal Service investigation is understood to have evolved out of an earlier enquiry into Michael Ball and his Rock Racing Team. Several riders from the latter previously competed for the bigger team, making it possible that pertinent information was obtained then.

Whatever the precise timing of the first witness statements or other evidence, WADA is in no doubt that USADA secured relevant information earlier than the UCI.

“In a letter of August 7,” it said in its media release, “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.

“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 UCI had used the latter wording when it argued for the April 30th email to be the starting point.

International Tennis Federation also backs USADA:

Meanwhile USADA received a further boost today when the International Tennis Federation issued a press release in relation to a sanction already handed down.

“The International Tennis Federation announced today that it recognises and respects the lifetime ban imposed on Dr Luis Garcia del Moral by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for various Anti-Doping Rule Violations. Dr Garcia del Moral practices sports medicine in Valencia, Spain, and in that capacity has worked with various tennis players,” it wrote.

“As a Signatory to the WADA Code, the ITF (and, therefore, its member National Associations) is obliged to recognise and respect decisions of other Code Signatories that are consistent with the Code and within that Signatory’s authority (Article 15.4).”

It effectively increases the pressure on the UCI to follow suit, with a complaint to the International Olympic Committee one possible option for WADA if the UCI continues to refuse assistance.

The latter ultimately has the right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if it is not happy with the outcome.

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