Agency agrees to reduction of IAAF-imposed sanction after athlete provides Substantial Assistance
- Settlement of a CAS appeal resulted in Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova being sanctioned by IAAF for period of 3 years and 2 months
- WADA agrees to a reduction of this sanction by 7 months after athlete provides Substantial Assistance
- Shobukhova’s sanction ended on 23 August 2015
The IAAF had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a decision of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) to suspend Liliya Shobukhova for a period of two years in connection with abnormalities with her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), seeking a period of ineligibility of up to four years.
The CAS appeal resulted in a settlement agreement on 30 June 2015 between the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) and Liliya Shobukhova. The settlement provided for a period of ineligibility of three years and two months (from 24 January 2013 to 23 March 2016) for Ms. Shobukhova.
In light of the Substantial Assistance that Ms. Shobukhova provided in line with the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), however, WADA has agreed to a seven-month reduction in the athlete’s sanction. This brings the total length of the athlete’s ineligibility period to two years and seven months, which ended on 23 August 2015.
Ms. Shobukhova approached WADA in May 2014 with a view to providing Substantial Assistance within the meaning of the Code. She accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation. The information and documentation provided by Ms. Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel.
WADA considered the information provided by Ms. Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport. As such, WADA has decided to exercise its authority by agreeing to the use of the Substantial Assistance provisions in the 2015 Code [Article 10.6.1.2; also reflected in Rule 40.7(a)(ii) of Chapter 3 of the IAAF Competition Rules].
Ms. Shobukhova has formally committed to cooperate with WADA in the investigation and, ultimately, the adjudication of cases resulting from the information she has provided. It should be noted that when individuals do not fulfill their obligations under the Substantial Assistance provisions in the Code, WADA has the ability to reinstate reduced periods of ineligibility.
This particular doping case reflects the view that the protection of clean athletes relies on a two-pronged approach of both testing and intelligence-led investigations, as reflected in the 2015 Code and International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI). The Substantial Assistance provisions agreed upon by the anti-doping community in the lead up to the introduction of the revised Code are of great importance to conducting investigations. Where appropriate, WADA will continue to use the provisions, and encourage their use by other Anti-Doping Organizations, so that anti-doping efforts continue to progress in the coming years.
As it relates to the nature of Ms. Shobukhova’s Substantial Assistance, WADA will refrain from providing further details as this information is confidential and could be used against other individuals implicated in the case. Furthermore, announcing the details of Substantial Assistance at this time could undermine attempts to detect those who may be violating anti-doping rules.
Concerning the ongoing work of the Independent Commission, which is investigating serious doping allegations that aired on German television in December 2014 and August 2015, WADA will make no further comment at this time.