UCI Rule 357: Contador’s escape hatch?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Crossfire

Who is he aiming at?

L’Equipe is reporting that Contador’s get out from sanction is due to a technicality, the same story has been put in English over at Velonation. In boils down to a right under the Spanish constitution to be informed of any accusation. A fundamental human right.

In absence of official explanation from the Spanish authorities, I’m not going to comment on the Contador case, rather I want to look at the rules and see what they say. Here’s Rule 357 from the UCI Cycling Regulations (Part 14, Chapter XIII):

Notice
357.
Notice to a License-Holder may be accomplished by delivery of the notice to his National Federation
or as provided by these Anti-Doping Rules. The National Federation shall be responsible for making
immediate contact with the License-Holder.

It means the UCI’s channel of communications with the RFEC is normal, that there’s no need to copy documents to Contador. Contador’s constitutional rights are the concern of the RFEC and this is the body charged with promptly relaying any accusations and information.

We should be asking whether the RFEC complied with 357 and established “immediate contact” with the holder of licence #02247396C. Certainly any failure by the RFEC to pass on information would be a stupid mistake. But surely Contador’s acquittal is based on additional factors? We should know soon but until then I’m simply saying the reason suggested by L’Equipe seems weak.

Finally, a thought: the process has been very lengthy because we were assured that the UCI and WADA wanted to present a watertight case. It would be a blow if all along one of the obvious rules was overlooked. But that’s an if, once again I’m only trying to shine a light on the rules to contextualise the Equipe claim.

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{ 9 comments }

Jason February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Hi, long time reader. You often make points about rules. Can you reply and let me know where can I find all these rules?

Struan Donald February 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Nico Gartmann February 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

To be released because of no information from the UCI or RFEC is a disaster. He is not going to be welcome with anyone outside Spain.

The Inner Ring February 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Struan – thanks.

Jason – You’ll find the PDF documents can be searched easily and everything is organised in a sensibly ordered.

Nico – we still don’t know if this is the only factor behind the acquittal. But unless there is a good explanation and evidence to explain the presence of Clenbuterol then yes, many will find his presence awkward.

pave is cobblers February 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I would expect on the scales of justace a positive drug test far outweighs an improbable and unsurrpourted hypothysis.

The Inner Ring February 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

pave is cobblers: yes, good point. You can claim you were abducted by aliens and then watched Elvis cook the steak in the spaceship’s galley so long as you can back this up with proof.

Nick February 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

What if Contador races this weekend and the appeal (if there is one!) comes through. Would his one (or two) years start from the date of his last race??

Adrian Miles February 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

It is easy to be wise after the fact but, alas, I did tell my wife (who really was not interested), that a) he tested positive, but b) it’s Spain so c) the way I’d ‘fix’ it would be to take a really long time (so the rules about how long the case should take are breached – technical escape 1), and d) make sure there is some administrative matter that is poorly handled, not quite done right, forgotten – not a big thing mind, just something sort of small but which provides technical grounds for dismissal – aka technical escape 2. This way they get to clear the rider without actually having to judge the case. Here in Australia it is like getting caught drunk driving but because the Police did not follow exact procedure your case is thrown out. You were drunk. You were driving. But this does not get judged legally because the procedure was wrong (this has just happened). On behalf of the great Spanish sporting nation, politically, very smart. Ethically, in the sewers.

The Inner Ring February 16, 2011 at 1:05 am

Nick – the ban would probably go back to the positive test last July.

Adrian – yes, to escape on a technicality is tough. I can almost understand it for a traffic offence as if the rules are not followed then people can get falsely accused. But a dispute over who should have notified Contador is pushing things, especially when he only had to open the newspaper to read what was happening.

For what it’s worth I wrote on here in early October that he’d be cleared because he’s too important to bring down. But I’m now changing my mind because the WADA Code and the rules/principles are even more important. WADA must be aching to take him to court, if not the cleaners.

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