Now that Alberto Contador’s career hangs in the balance of the Spanish Federation it is time to get a move on. The UCI rules stipulate a month, although Spanish cycling boss Juan Castaño has said it could take longer.
280. The proceedings before the hearing panel of the License-Holder’s National Federation must be completed within 1 (one) month from the time limit set for the dispatch of the summons.
Once again the hapless President of the RFEC needs to read the rules and start applying them. The clock is ticking.
But for a moment, let’s put aside cycling and doping because there’s a serious public health issue here. Contador’s defence is based on the premise of contaminated meat. This has been stated in public since September and it must have been circulated privately long before this.
Are lives at risk?
Contaminated meat is very serious. If a small steak caused Clenbuterol to get into Contador’s blood, then what about a more regular customer who might have consumed bigger quantities of beef? Especially those enjoying liver where concentration levels are going to be much higher? This is about public safety and the Spanish authorities have to get a move on here.
The FDA says Clenbuterol is only mildly toxic but nevertheless it is banned and a major concern in Europe too. Spain reported two outbreaks of illness in 1990 totalling 135 persons who consumed contaminated beef liver, people were hospitalized with increased heart rate, muscular tremors, headache, nausea, fever, and chills.What if an elderly person or a toddler had a plateful of dodgy liver? What if someone died?
The fact that nobody in Spain seems to be bothered suggests a worrying carelessness about public health …or perhaps none of the authorities believe Contador’s hypothesis?
Back to cycling
As mentioned above, the hearing has to happen within a month. I can’t see any reason for the delay, everyone gains from a prompt hearing of the case. But if this fails to happen, and the Spanish authorities are talking about a slower approach, then the RFEC can be “penalized by the disciplinary commission, incurring a fine of CHF5000 for each week’s delay without prejudice to the obligation to complete proceedings as fast as possible” as per rule 280.
Any delay beyond three months will allow the UCI to bring the case to the Court for Abitration in Sport under rule 281, in order to ensure the matter is dealt with. In addition to the humiliation involved, the Spanish RFEC would be obliged to pay for the proceedings.