Reversal of the biological passport

The National Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency against the decision of the Administrative Court of Sport to exonerate the cyclist Ibai Salas, sanctioned in 2018 by the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD) with a punishment of four years for irregularities in his biological passport. A full blow to the Spanish system, which in the new Anti-Doping Law, of December 2021, reinforces the biological passport as a valid means of proof to sanction infractions.

In the resolution advanced by ABC, the National Court says that “It is not respectful of the presumption of innocence to affirm that ‘there is a high probability’ in the consumption of prohibited substances or methods, since the sanctioning law cannot operate on the ground of probabilities. but on the plane of certainties”. According to the court, “the adverse result in the biological passport, as such, by itself and in accordance with the classification of the offender at the time the events occurred does not determine the commission of the offense, but rather the probability of consumption of a prohibited substance that must be determined.”

The biological passport, unlike the anti-doping control that acts as a photo of the moment, is an X-ray of the athlete’s hematological profile. The fluctuations ‘sing’ if there has been doping even if there has not been a positive for a substance and it is an internationally recognized means of combating doping. The decision leaves it in question in Spain, although the director of the National Agency (now CELAD), José Luis Terreros, warned in a recent interview with AS that “all passports that have incidents with the law currently in force will be valid because In the new text it is much clearer and they will be sanctioned in the normal way”.

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However, the case of the Burgos-BH cyclist kept in limbo at least four similar cases of irregularities in the biological passport that CELAD was waiting to resolve and may go unpunished. “There was a case that an athlete was already notified and he was suspended, it is the only one in which we do not know what would happen. Possibly the AMA would take over. (This is a second-tier cyclist whose case was settled years ago, has not appealed, and is retired.) There are two more that have been transferred to their international federations and they will resolve. And two others that their international federations are re-evaluating, under discussion, we don’t really know why, but we are trying to get them to take care of them,” Terreros said in the interview.

The case of Ibai Salas has been going on since 2018. First, the TAD annulled his sanction and the AMA filed appeals in sports before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS), which endorsed the four-year sanction, and in the ordinary Spanish courts . But the Central Contentious-Administrative Court number 7 agreed with the cyclist, pointing out that the passport “would violate the fundamental right of the presumption of innocence.” The matter did not end there. The National Court was missing. And the reverse.

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