Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

The AP says WADA is taking it organizationally, and will help Mr. Pound defend himself against the defamation suit by the UCI. Since your tax dollars go to WADA, does that mean the media will now complain about money being used to defend him? We'd hope this is an action taken because of an indemnification clause in Mr. Pound's old employment contract, and not something done by WADA as a discretionary gesture.

“This action by UCI in suing WADA’s former president is in fact an action against WADA,” the anti-doping agency said Tuesday in a statement. “WADA will instruct legal counsel to represent WADA and its former president in this regard, and to robustly defend and reject the unfounded allegations made by the UCI.”

Pound is a candidate for the presidency of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. He recently stepped down as head of WADA after leading the agency for eight years.

Does anyone imagine the suit against Mr. Pound may be a tactic to derail his candidacy at CAS, even if it is doomed on its merits? Or that it has something to do with Verbruggen being an IOC figure in Beijing who'd be happy to say for six months, "I can't comment on matters of pending litigation."

The CAS election is scheduled for April 3rd.

Reuters drags Landis into it:

WADA hit-back at the UCI on Tuesday saying that it found it strange that the cycling body found finances to launch a lawsuit against Pound after declining to contribute to the Landis appeal on the grounds that it had "no budget".

We're glad to know that WADA, despite the drop in the dollar and the budget complaints they made in Madrid, is rolling in enough money to bankroll USADA's case against Landis and to defend Mr. Pound's rhetoric.

The VeloNews expands on the "UCI suing Dick Pound story" the other direction, with questions as to why they have the money for this, but NOT the funds to help out with the Landis prosecution which WADA helped defray:
"UCI specifically declined to contribute to the Landis case on the grounds that it had 'no budget' to do so. Yet the appeal was specifically conducted under UCI rules, involved a breach of the sport’s anti-doping policy, and is a major case for the sport," the statement reads.

Pot, meet Kettle.

Reuters relates pretty much the same information on the end of the Landis/CAS appeal that appeared here yesterday. The piece says no decision or comment can be expetced until at least June. It could definitely be a long time in coming.

The CyclingNews also mentions the end yesterday of "disgraced" cyclist Floyd Landis' CAS hearing and notes post hearing submissions are due April 18. In other news the Freiburg clinic/T-Mobile story from last week is revisited with more detail on the possible involvement of Andreas Kloden in the scandal. Kloden is expected to meet with Astana ds Johan Bruyneel today to discuss the "vitamins" he alleges he took.

In a later edition the CN makes note of the ASO's selections for the spring classics, predictably Astana is not included in any of them.

Teletext.co.uk gets the award for the snarkiest headline coming out of the conclusion of the Landis/CAS hearings yesterday: "June D-Day for Shamed Ace".

VeloNews' Mailbag is full of righteous indignation over Rock Racing's exclusion from the Tour of Georgia.

The Boulder Report
feels that the handwriting was on the wall for Astana and the ASO this year. While their exclusion for the TdF is regrettable and perhaps unfair, Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador really should have known better than to sign with Johan Bruyneel.

Scientific American has a story on The Doping Dilemma. So far the comments are under informed, so feel free to enlighten the audience there.

WADAwatch submits an open"Amicus" brief to the CAS panel on the Landis appeal. It's lengthy, and interesting, and focuses on four issues:
  1. What level of confidence can be associated to the evidence that the Laboratoire Nationale du Dépistage du Dopage (LNDD) offered (being a French governmental laboratory, now renamed the 'département des analyses', and hierarchically placed within the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD))?

  1. Is Landis inculpated only due to an unequal application and enforcement of the WADA Code between classes of stakeholders?

  1. Is WADA's reliance on 'Judicial Interpretation', as a means to amplify unexpressed, or hypothetical meanings of its Code, actually a Quigley violation” to proper WADA rules promulgation?

  1. Given the aspects of Argument III, supra, is participation by WADA in financing a majority of the USADA appellate costs in this case a legitimate use of its funding under the controlling 2003 WADA Code, or does it establish a very discriminatory precedent toward future Athletes, whose defense of their cases, solely due to WADA's inordinate reliance on 'judicial interpretation' as opposed to proper Code drafting, may be more contentious and thus more expensive than otherwise would be the case under a properly drafted WADA Code?

(emphasis added)

WADAwatch has consistently taken the position that vagueness in the WADA Code is to the detriment of the athletes, raising the complexity, uncertainty, and cost of cases. The need for interpretation has resulted in a lot of "it means what we want it to mean because we wrote it so we know our intent now even though we didn't say so explictly when we wrote it" arguments from advocates such as Richard Young. Like, say, the infield fly rule only applies when the sun is in front of second base, we just didn't bother to say so.

The definitive example in the new (2008) WADA Code is that observation there is a definition of ADAMS, the computerized tracking system, but none for "aggravating circumstances" which can lengthen a suspension. This leaves it discretionary, creating an uncertain additional threat to any athlete that dares contest a charge. WADAwatch is correct to call this absurd and unfair, though it meets many of the "stakeholder's" desires to browbeat the athletes and reduce the cost of enforcement at the expense of rights and predictability.

Racejunkie notes the "trouble" Andreas Kloden may be finding himself in today, and thinks that Floyd Landis may just fossilize while waiting for his appeal decision. RJ we may all be "fossils" before this is over:
What is so Rare as a Day in June?: for one thing, the odds that Floyd Landis gets to ride the Tour de France again before he fossilizes even if he wins his freakin' appeal, as CAS closes up shop on his hearing but promises, in the interests of careful study of the evidence which at least earns them some points, to issue a verdict just in time to ensure poor Floyd has absolutely zero chance of coming up with a squad in time for the (hell, any) race. Apropos of absolutely nothing, I see that Free-Iban-Mayo's verdict is currently running about 3 weeks late, but I'm sure there's nothing to worry about there, either. Ummm...anyone....anyone.

Absolute Goose thinks that since it's going to be at least June before Floyd Landis hears the results of his CAS appeal he should just move on and find a way to shorten his suspension, or perhaps find something else to do. AG also advises Floyd to stay away from Rock Racing.

Swap Blog
feels that even though Floyd Landis has been through a long protracted process it's still unlikely he will ever get his Tour de France title back. Not really sure that was even the point anymore.

Michael Gacki
was surprised by his sudden popularity the other day. He still feels Floyd Landis is innocent, and hopes Matt DiCanio doesn't come after him as he does not support dopers.

Potholes and Road Apples
mentions Farmersville native Floyd Landis' CAS hearing and notes that it will be awhile before the results are known.

mind hasn't changed about Floyd Landis, he still thinks Landis cheated, and also that Floyd hired good lawyers who "dredged up " scientists who supported his contention that he is innocent. Mr. Ow also headlines another post "Hillary Clinton lies."

Sara Best
writes about a few things she has had on her mind of late, one of which is the seemingly endless Floyd Landis' saga. Sara may not be the only one gloating just a bit over the UCI lawsuit filed against former WADA head Dick Pound.


jrdbutcher said...

Brilliant system. If CAS rules by June, there is a defacto suspension of just under 2 years. If CAS rules by late July, there is a defacto suspension of 2 years. If CAS rules in August, or later, there is a defacto suspension in excess of what would have been imposed had Floyd not contested LNDD’s results.

There is a great deal of blame to go around. One can point to USADA for the bs delays in discovery and 1st hearing site selection. The rest pretty much falls on the quantumly flawed system, courtesy of Young and fellow travelers.

Let’s hope that CAS, at least, brings some sanity and balance back into the picture with their ruling, yet to come.

Mike said...

Don't be so hard on them, jrdb. Obviously, nobody is really supposed to appeal; certainly not anybody who can actually spend some money on a vigorous defense. The system is working just fine.


jrdbutcher said...

That doesn’t explain why WADA has been reported to have funded a substantial portion of USADA’s expenses related to the recent CAS hearing. (another brazen example of a conflict of interest wrt WADA – wish to search for the truth vs. a pre-determined outcome – the whole cop/judge/jury issue) Were a few influential representatives of U.S. taxpayers telling USADA future funding might be in jeopardy if they overdid the outside counsel expenses on the CAS appeal? What, Young wasn’t going to represent USADA pro bono? I’m shocked. Anything that shines a little sanitizing sunshine onto sewer this whole process has become, is seen as a moral victory by me. An actual victory, like the one witnessed in Paris in July of 2006 would be better.

Now, on to read what WADA Watch has to say today....

("Eightzero") said...

The CAS says it will elect their new President on 4/3/08:


I think all candidates that have an open legal proceeding against them should be barred from consideration; all candidates should also sign a pledge promising to return one year's salary to them if accused of slanderous or unethical behavior. Periodic tests of the CAS president's speeches should be analyzed by Fox News for Fair and Balanced(tm) reporting.

There. I feel better now.

ZENmud productions said...

Hi all,

Hope you'll permit me to c-n-paste a revision I added to para.20 of my WADAwatch post, here... it was ONE of the TREES that has to be included, in a forest of 'judicially misinterpreted' WADA Code or ISL Articles... thanks! here we go...

The WADA ISL Article lays out the 'Suspension of Accreditation' structure, with a list of examples: the only pertinent example is “failure to take appropriate corrective action after an unsatisfactory performance”.

[new text]Read a second time, that phrase harbours great import to the position WADA has taken. This abnormal position is obvious: WADA does not suspend laboratories that perform unsatisfactorily: it is only expressing that it could suspend a laboratory subsequent to its failure to take any corrective action.

CAS should be very aware of the lack of balance this causes. The equivalent level of punishment, if levelled against Athletes, would mean that Athletes would only be suspended IF they were told 'don't take dope' and failed to stop doing so.

As we are unclear from WADA's failure to include any Definition, whether 'unsatisfactory' is worse than 'sloppy' but better than 'untrustworthy', CAS may have to 'interpret judicially' what WADA means by this inarticulate Article.

[I've split it out into paragraphs here, but it's wedged into a long para. in the original... sigh]

I've received a suggestion that I should forward my 'Brief' to 'the Arbs'; I'm waiting for a reply, which may include contact details (I'd requested clarification if this individual meant 'the arbs as individuals, the arbs (if the Panel may have an email address?), or to the Secretariat of CAS...

Thanks again...