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CAS Upholds Halep’s Appeal, Reduces Suspension Period to 9 Months

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the period of suspension imposed on Simona Halep for breaches of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) from four years to nine months.

In September of last year, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Independent Tribunal found her guilty of anti-doping rule violations (ADRV) and suspended her for four years. The player challenged the decision before CAS in the same month.

The CAS hearing concluded in February 2024. After deliberation, it was determined that, on the balance of probabilities, it was established that the consumption of a contaminated supplement led to the detection of the prohibited substance, Roxadustat, in her dope sample collected at the US Open in August 2022. It was noted that though a certain level of fault or negligence was attributable to Halep’s failure to exercise sufficient care in using the supplement, the same was not significant.

As to irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), it was held that “it was appropriate in the circumstances to consider the results of a private blood sample given by Ms. Halep on 9 September 2022 in the context of a surgery which occurred shortly thereafter. Those results, and Ms. Halep’s public statements that she did not intend to compete for the remainder of the 2022 calendar year, impacted the plausibility of the doping scenarios relied upon by the ITF Independent Tribunal.” Consequently, the charge was dismissed.

This resulted in the CAS Panel partly upholding her appeal, with her request to backdate the start of the suspension to August 29, 2022, being denied.