CAS ARBITRATION BETWEEN THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ATHLETICS FEDERATIONS (IAAF), ATHLETICS KENYA AND RITA JEPTOO

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) commenced a hearing in the arbitration procedure involving the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Athletics Kenya and the Kenyan athlete Rita Jeptoo. The IAAF filed a statement of appeal at the CAS against Athletics Kenya and Rita Jeptoo, concerning the decision rendered by Athletics Kenya Medical and Anti-Doping Commission on 27 January 2015, pursuant to which Ms Jeptoo was sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility for an anti-doping rule violation. In addition, the IAAF filed a request for arbitration at the CAS asserting that Ms Jeptoo committed a further anti-doping rule violation relating to alleged Attempted Tampering with the Doping Control Process.

The two procedures are being handled concurrently. The IAAF seeks an increase in the athlete’s two-year period of ineligibility and the disqualification of the athlete’s result in the 2014 Boston Marathon. A hearing was initially scheduled to take place in April 2016 but was postponed when Ms Jeptoo’s first counsel withdrew shortly before the hearing. Ms Jeptoo then requested legal aid from the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), the governing body of the CAS, and was granted the assistance of a pro bono lawyer from Nairobi to assist her with the preparation of her case and to represent her at the hearing. On 3 May 2016, Ms Jeptoo’s new counsel confirmed availability, without reservation, for the proposed hearing date of 7 July 2016. On 4 May 2016, the CAS fixed the hearing for 7 July 2016.

On 5 July 2016, two days before the hearing, Ms Jeptoo’s counsel informed the CAS that she resigned from her role as counsel to Ms Jeptoo and made her resignation public. On the same day, the CAS Court Office attempted to contact Ms. Jeptoo to discuss practical arrangements for her participation in the hearing, as well as the appointment of new counsel. Ms. Jeptoo neither responded timely to such correspondence and phone calls, nor requested an adjournment of the hearing. The hearing is being held today in the presence of the IAAF representatives. Ms Jeptoo joined the initial phase of the hearing by telephone but opted to leave the hearing during opening statements. The CAS Panel decided to proceed with the hearing in Ms Jeptoo’s absence. Athletics Kenya did not participate in the hearing despite previously announcing their attendance.

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