The Swiss Federal Tribunal has upheld Sun Yang’s appeal against an eight-year doping ban and referred the Chinese swimmer’s case back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

CAS had issued the eight years ban in February after the three-time Olympic champion was found guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018, where a member of his entourage smashed his blood vial with a hammer.

A subsequent investigation by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) ended with Sun being issued only a warning, but WADA appealed that sanction to the CAS.

Then, Sun in turn appealed the CAS ruling to the Swiss tribunal, which informed WADA on Wednesday that it had upheld a challenge against the chair of the CAS Panel.

The WADA statement:

“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been informed of the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal to uphold the revision application filed by Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and to set aside the 28 February 2020 award of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Panel. The case is in relation to WADA’s successful appeal against the original Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) disciplinary panel decision following an incident that led to a doping control involving Sun Yang not being completed as planned.

“The Swiss Federal Tribunal’s decision upholds a challenge against the Chair of the CAS Panel and makes no comment on the substance of this case.

“In the CAS award, WADA clearly prevailed on the substance of the case as it was able to show that there were a number of aspects of the original FINA decision that were incorrect under the World Anti-Doping Code and the related International Standard for Testing and Investigations. WADA will take steps to present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS Panel, which will be chaired by a different president.

“At this stage, WADA has not received the Tribunal’s full reasoned decision and therefore cannot comment further.”

According to the New York Times, Sun’s lawyers had successfully argued to the tribunal that the chairman of the CAS Panel, Italian Franco Frattini, had made public comments that expressed anti-Chinese sentiments.

The Swiss court ruling means Sun is now free to compete until his case is heard again, so he can look forward to defending his 200m title at next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Sun has constantly denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the officials who arrived to test him at his home on the night of September 4-5, 2018 were not properly accredited or qualified.

In a rare CAS public hearing in November 2019, evidence was presented of how a security guard instructed by Sun’s mother used a hammer to smash his vial. The 10-hour hearing broadcast on the court’s website was marred by translation issues as the 11-time world champion protested his innocence.

The 29-year-old, a controversial figure in swimming, served a three-month doping suspension in 2014.

At the 2019 FINA World Championships, two competitors, Australia’s Mack Horton and Britain’s Duncan Scott, refused to stand with him on medal podiums.

Source: AIPS Media