Court of Arbitration slaps costs on NADA

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has been slapped costs by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in an appeal in which it was on the ‘winning side’.

In a rare instance of a losing appellant being given the benefit of sharing the costs, the CAS ruled in the swimmer Amar Muralidharan case last month that there were undue delays owing to NADA’s handling of the case, warranting the respondent equally sharing the costs with the athlete.

The CAS had dismissed an appeal from Muralidharan who challenged his two-year suspension on several grounds including an argument that he was denied justice because of the delays in completing the case.

His case was one of the 11 methylhexaneamine (MHA) doping cases that dragged on for more than two years from 2010 and eventually took another two years to clear the appeal stage at the national level.

The crux of the argument at CAS’s alternative hearing centre in Abu Dhabi in January centred around the jurisdiction of CAS that being a ‘national-level’ athlete Muralidharan did not have the right to approach it.

The sole arbitrator, however, ruled in the swimmer’s favour on the argument that NADA did not raise any objections when the appeal notice was sent to it and even when it filed its reply in July 2014. He noted that NADA’s objection, based on information gathered from the International Swimming Federation (FINA) that the Indian swimmer was not an ‘international level’ athlete was filed only in December, 2014.

The arbitrator dismissed the same argument during hearing. He then went onto hear the case on merits and though he agreed with the appellant about certain points raised, eventually he could not find any reason to uphold the appeal.

But quite damagingly for NADA he slapped costs on it which would be determined by the CAS office in due course. The arbitrator stated that several of the issues raised by Muralidharan, and perhaps the appeal itself, could have been avoided had the NADA and the NDTL handled the matter with proper timing and had they been more diligent with clerical practices. The arbitrator noted a delay of two years, from September 2010 to September, 2012 for the disciplinary panel to hear the swimmer’s case for the first time.

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