Fri | Sep 24, 2021

No punishment for contaminated products – Crowne

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2020 | 12:19 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

Noted sports attorney Dr Emir Crowne is calling for a revision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code to protect athletes who return adverse analytical findings as a result of contaminated products.

Crowne was speaking during a Gleaner Sport Instagram Live interview recently, where he expressed his concerns around the current anti-doping procedures.

Article of the WADA Code, which addresses contaminated products, declares that athletes who have established “no significant fault or negligence” in cases where the detected banned substance came from a contaminated product, should be subjected to a reprimand with no period of ineligibility, as a minimum punishment, or a two-year ban at a maximum, depending on the athlete’s degree of fault.

However, Crowne believes that there should be no sanction once it has been established that the prohibited substance got in the athlete’s system because of a contaminated product.

“The Code needs to be revised to recognise that in a contaminated-product case, there should be no sanctions; you don’t receive a reprimand. You should receive no sanction at all, if the panel truly believes that the product was contaminated,” Crowne said.

Crowne referenced a case in which he represented Trinidadian beach volleyball player Fabien Whitfield, who tested positive for testosterone and at least one other steroid in 2016. Whitfield, in his defence, stated that he was the victim of contaminated horse meat.

“His family was so poor that they couldn’t afford beef, so they ate horsemeat like racetrack horses that were killed after their life span as a racehorse. They found a cocktail of seven steroids in his system. Do you know how expensive it would be if he was actually using steroids? That would be US$1,000 a month,” Crowne stated. “Either he was secretly doing that or he ate contaminated horsemeat because his family’s only source of protein was dead racetrack horses.”


The Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2017 upheld the four-year ban that was given by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball to Whitfield, a ruling which Crowne believes was unjust.

“It is materially unfair that [in] a situation like that he gets a four-year ban, when you have state-run doping schemes getting away. So I think more emphasis has to be placed on the idea that contamination occurs in the real world,” said Crowne.

He also expressed concerns that substance testing is not equitable for athletes from developing countries.

“It is not a realistic standard for athletes from certain countries, and the [WADA] Code is geared towards athletes from developed countries,” he claimed.