Our Correspondent Marc sent the following via email
Insofar as any of us thought there was a chance of a reversal, we were deluding ourselves. It was only in reading today the specific terms in which the issue was framed that I realized how completely the deck was stacked against FL.
Back in January we saw the exact terms used in the AFLD appeal decision, a decision, as I noted at the time, that had been written even before the testimony had been heard.
You will have already noted that the experts had finished their reports even before FL's case was heard by the arbitration panel--therefore presumably before they'd have heard what problems had specifically been identified in LNDD's lab work/practices. But even without knowing what FL was going to complain about, they knew everything was hunky dory.
As stated first by one of the experts (apparently without waiting to hear FL's evidence):
"The analytic methods are reliable" and . . . it "is possible, with virtually no risk, to consider that the conclusions drawn by LNDD cannot be disputed"
and then, in the AFLD's conclusion:
"Considering that it follows that the aforesaid expert conclusions that the analyses performed by LNDD . . . were performed while respecting the rules imposed by WADA; . . . in fact, that this laboratory . . . has been accredited for many years by the highest sporting authorities . . .; and that, [for] these reasons, [FL’s] argument, aiming at disputing the quality of work performed by LNDD must be rejected."
Today we can read:
"1. The LNDD is a WADA-accredited laboratory which benefits from the presumption that it conducted sample analysis in accordance with international laboratory standards.
"2. The athlete has not rebutted this presumption by showing that a departure from the International Standard occurred."
The very fact that LNDD was the AFLD's official lab made it bullet-proof. There was no realistic way, we can now see, to get past that.
I'd love to believe that--despite the outcome of this case--the serious scientific discussion that has been conducted on TbV really shook the anti-doping bureaucrats, and is forcing them to reconstruct their protocols and policies. But I don't believe so.