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Greene lashes anti-doping panel - CAS cuts Powell, Simpson bans to six months - Orders Jamaica Anti-Doping Panel to pay athletes' legal fees

Published:Tuesday | July 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Sprinter Asafa Powell attends a press conference yesterday ahead of the athletics meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, Monday, July 14, 2014. The athletics meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. - AP

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

Paul Greene, the attorney who represented Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson in their successful appeals against respective 18-month drug bans, has accused the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel of failing to properly adhere to and interpret the WADA Code as it relates to sanctions.

This comes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) yesterday announced drastic reductions of the respective bans imposed by the panel in April this year to just six months.

Powell, the former 100-metre world-record holder and Simpson, the fastest woman in the world in both the 100m and 200m in 2006, had both been banned by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel after they tested positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine during the national championships in June 2013.

In reducing the bans, the CAS also ruled that all costs associated with arbitration for its hearing, as well as additional monies in legal fees, are to be paid by JADCO.

Largest awards

It is believed to be one of the largest awards in the history of CAS.

"We are elated by the results, but knew all along this is the sanction the case law interpreting the World Anti-Doping Code demanded," said Greene, who has an outstanding track record at the CAS representing athletes.

"The Code requires that sanctions for athletes be harmonised in light of their degree of fault. Asafa and Sherone's degree of fault, when compared to the athletes sanctioned before them, was at the low end of the 0-24 month range, under Article 10.4 of the Code."

This continued failure of the Jamaica Anti-Doping authorities to interpret the code, he said, is burning holes in their pockets.

"The real shame of this is that we can't go back in time to December 22, 2013 when they should have been back competing. Had the JADCO Panel followed the IAAF rules, Asafa and Sherone would have had a hearing within three months and been able to compete all of 2014," said Greene. "The nearly historic cost that JADCO will be required to pay is a sign from the CAS that JADCO's failures in handling their cases are unacceptable."

The ruling of the panel that comprised Lennox Gayle, Dr. Japheth Forde and Peter Prendergast was appealed in June and the athletes went before the CAS on July 7 and 8 in New York.

Almost a week later, the good news came that the athletes will be able to return to competition immediately.

The athletes had already been free to compete after CAS had stayed the imposition of the ban, pending the outcome of last week's hearings.

"I never felt that I should not have received a sanction," said Powell in a statement released shortly after the CAS award was made public. "However, I always felt that the 18 months was not in line with a first-time positive test result, and it being proven it came from a tainted supplement."

Simpson, too, was overjoyed.

"I feel total relief, and that we have finally been vindicated. We both knew that we had done all we could to ensure the supplement was OK before taking it ... our actions were not intentional, and CAS has recognised that. I am truly thankful," she said.

Simpson competed at the National Championships at the end of June and also ran at a meet in Belgium on Saturday. Both athletes are down to compete in Switzerland today.

Executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, Carey Brown, said JADCO had no choice but to abide by the CAS decision. However, he was unwilling to comment on how much these overturned decisions of the disciplinary tribunal were costing the Commission.

"I can't comment on anything that has to do with the disciplinary panel," he said.

Meanwhile Chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, Kent Pantry, said the panellists were abiding by the rules as it relates to sanctions imposed on Jamaica's athletes.

"We follow the rules, but CAS is the final court of appeal so if they believe we were excessive then that is it," he said.

He added that he would be awaiting the written decision to see where CAS' ruling differed from theirs.