To say that the arbitration system is flawed is a major understatement - it is an outrageous, appalling farce, with a controlled, contrived masquerade of “justice”. To even call it an arbitration is absolutely an unbelievable outrage. And to call it a fair hearing is so ludicrous that only WADA, USADA and CAS can believe their own propaganda...
Hiltzik says this: ”A Times examination of the appeal system found that:
• Athletes are presumed guilty and denied routine access to lab data potentially relevant to their defense.
• Trivial and accidental violations draw penalties similar to those for intentional use of illicit performance-enhancing substances.
• Anti-doping authorities or sports federations have leaked details of cases against athletes or made public assertions of their guilt before tests were confirmed or appeals resolved.
• Arbitrators, theoretically neutral judges, are bound by rules drafted and enforced by the World Anti-Doping Agency and its affiliates, including the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. They have almost no discretion to adjust penalties to fit individual circumstances.
The WADA rules govern the admissibility of evidence, the burden of proof and the selection of the arbitrators themselves. In each category they tend to favor the accusers. Athletes wishing to compete in national, international and Olympic events subject to WADA jurisdiction have no option but to agree to this system.” And further in the article, ”The question is whether they go so far that they deprive athletes of due process and fair hearings.”
There’s a lot of discussion about this never happening in US football, basketball or baseball leagues. And the reason is the strong, united player’s unions. The teams in the union all work together and take a stand for the player’s rights. In cycling, this does not happen and the best example is the voluntary organization, International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT). Are they looking out for the rider’s rights?
Hell, no, they’re too busy fighting and back-stabbing and using any reason to try to keep Ivan Basso out of the 2007 Tour. Yeah, right, what a bunch of bull crap about gentlemen’s agreement, blah, blah, blah... They know damn well that if Ivan rides, Ivan wins in 2007.
If the ICTP was a union of any value to all the riders (instead of just a business organization), they would take a stand against the publicly announced guilt assumptions from media rumors, and leaks to the press from the French cesspool. A strong, rider-focused ICTP would say that none of the teams will ride until a rider is presumed innocent until charged by credible evidence, and proven guilty in a fair, open hearing with an impartial panel - not WADA yes-men and yes-women, whose jobs depend on a verdict upholding WADA’s “already guilty” decision. The ICTP, instead of their ridiculous in-fighting, should demand a WADA house-cleaning and that the Chatenay-Malabry cesspool no longer be contracted to do any kind of testing.
And... the all important, Team Sponsor Gods should back up their teams in this WADA house-cleaning, and also demand fairness and impartiality in an open testing and open arbitration process. If everybody - every team, every sponsor - stood together and told WADA, the UCI and ASO that they’re not showing up next July until changes are made, I wonder what would happen?
What if they gave a Tour de France and nobody came?