Dog-meat tweeting judge in Sun doping case had doubtful impartiality:
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[January 15, 2021]
ZURICH (Reuters) - Chinese
swimmer Sun Yang did not get an impartial hearing when he was banned
for eight years for doping offences as one of the judges had tweeted
anti-Chinese messages concerning animal rights, Switzerland's
highest court said on Friday.
The Federal Supreme Court said tweets by one of the arbitrators at
the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had exhibited possible bias
against Chinese people and their treatment of dogs.
"The Federal Supreme Court therefore considered that the doubts as
to the impartiality of the arbitrator were objectively justified,"
the Lausanne court said on Friday, giving reasons for its December
decision to send the matter back to CAS, which is based in the same
Triple Olympic champion Sun was originally banned by CAS last
February after it accepted an appeal from the World Anti-Doping
Agency (WADA) against a decision by swimming governing body FINA to
clear him of wrongdoing for his conduct during a 2018 test.
The swimmer appealed and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in December
upheld his challenge against the CAS Panel "on the grounds of bias
of one of the arbitrators of the CAS."
Giving its reasons on Friday, the court said the un-named CAS
arbitrator had tweeted about animal protection issues, without the
restraint required of judges, and had repeatedly used violent
"In his tweets, the arbitrator castigates a Chinese practice of dog
slaughter and denounces the consumption of this meat at a local
festival in China," the Federal Supreme Court said.
"Some expressions refer to the skin colour of certain Chinese people
he targets," it added. "In addition, the arbitrator also made the
said remarks in tweets after his appointment as president of the
panel of arbitrators deciding in the Sun Yang case."
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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang
poses after a public hearing of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
for the appeal filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against
him and the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA), at the
Conference Centre of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, in Montreux,
Switzerland November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
As a result, the case has now been sent back to CAS, which must hear
it again with a different panel of judges.
The decision could potentially clear the way for Sun to compete at
this year's delayed Tokyo Olympics, depending on when the case is
CAS said in December it regretted that the objections against the
president of the panel had not been raised earlier so they could be
examined during the proceedings.
It said the case would resume "immediately", adding the comments on
the official's personal twitter account did not represent the view
Sun, the reigning world and Olympic champion in 200 metres
freestyle, was banned after he and members of his entourage were
found to have smashed vials containing blood samples taken at an
out-of-competition test in September 2018.
Sun has questioned the credentials and identity of the testers and
has constantly proclaimed his innocence.
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Toby Davis)
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