Another day, another delay. This time the CAS has put out announcement:
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) it intends to publish its decision in the arbitration procedure involving the International Cycling Union (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Alberto Contador and the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) on Monday 6 February 2012.
But even this was followed with an ominous phrase that “a confirmation as to the date and time of the publication of the decision will be given” suggesting the date isn’t set in stone. Although optimists will note that the CAS is now talking about the time, we’re getting more and more precise.
The CAS is in no rush here, it has no incentive to hurry cases.
Why the delay? There’s no mention. Indeed today’s announcement is not stricty a delay. Earlier this month the CAS said “the publication of the final decision should now take place during the week of 31 January 2012“, note the conditional tense. Instead of this week, it’s next week. Given Contador tested positive 550 days ago, a week isn’t a big deal.
As for why this has taken 550 days, there are two answers. First, every party involved has either used the maximum time allotted to them or they’ve asked for more time (more here) which explains why it took so long to get to the hearing. Second the arguments are sophisticated. There is no smoking gun. Neither side of the appeal seems to have firm evidence, instead they have hypotheses and arguments based on statistical probability (more here) which explains why each stage is taking so long.
Note the CAS is in no rush here. It is there to arbitrate and if this takes time, so be it. It’s not there to support the image for pro cycling and it has the monopoly on appeals, sports like cycling don’t go elsewhere for faster verdicts. It can expedite cases if all sides want this but this case is a complex one that can’t be rushed. CAS has little incentive to expedite this, especially when set against the complex legal arguments. Indeed CAS’s own code contains no mention of time limits, it is up to the panel to deliberate with as much time as they like.