The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomes the announcement today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld the Agency’s appeal against the periods of ineligibility handed out by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in the cases of former US Postal Service professional cycling team manager Johan Bruyneel, former team doctor Dr Pedro Celaya and trainer José “Pepe” Martí.
The CAS arbitrators unanimously agreed with WADA that the suspensions imposed by the AAA were not appropriate and, instead, modified the extent of those periods of ineligibility to a lifetime ban for Mr Bruyneel and Dr Celaya while increasing Mr Martí’s suspension to a period of 15 years.
The decision was the result of an appeal by WADA, supported by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), of the original AAA ruling in 2014 to impose suspensions of 10 years to Mr Bruyneel and eight each to Dr Celaya and Mr Martí. The three had been found guilty of a range of violations in relation to the US Postal Service team doping conspiracy, including the possession of prohibited substances, trafficking those substances and administration and/or attempted administration of those substances.
The CAS Panel found that the evidence presented before it painted “a very clear picture” that from 1997 to 2007, Mr Bruyneel, Mr Martí and Dr Celaya participated in “an elaborate and highly successful doping scheme with Mr Bruyneel at the apex of a multitude of doping violations and Mr Martí and Dr Celaya as the indispensable participants in this widespread and systematic doping program”.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “This decision comes as welcome news for WADA as it will for athletes and all others around the world who care for clean sport and the integrity of cycling. It is the result of a long process, which was resisted at every turn by these men, who by their actions did a great deal of damage to their sport.
“It was always our contention that the sanctions handed down by AAA were not strong enough and, in order to stand up for clean competition and to protect the sport of cycling, we demanded more. I congratulate our legal team for skillfully pursuing this difficult case and I thank the UCI and USADA for their support.”
The is now available.