Book Chapter

CAS 2009/A/1912-1913 Pechstein v International Skating Union



McArdle D (2013) CAS 2009/A/1912-1913 Pechstein v International Skating Union. In: Anderson J (ed.) Leading Cases in Sports Law. ASSER International Sports Law Series. The Hague, Netherlands: TMC Asser Press, pp. 209-228.

At the material time, Claudia Pechstein was a 37-year-old German speed skater who in a long and distinguished career had taken part in five Olympic Games, where she obtained five gold and two bronze medals, and won several World, European and National championships. In short, Pechstein was one of the most successful winter sports athletes of all time. In the period between 4 February 2000 and 30 April 2009, Pechstein underwent numerous in-competition and out-of competition anti-doping tests. None of these tests resulted in a positive test or an adverse analytical finding. During the same period, the International Skating Union (“ISU”) collected more than 90 blood samples from Pechstein as part of its longitudinal blood profiling programme. Towards the end of the period, some of the Pechstein’s blood screening results began to show an irregular and abnormal pattern, outside of the accepted ISU-mandated parameters. Consequently, in March 2009, the ISU accused Pechstein of having used some form of blood doping constituting an anti-doping infraction under applicable ISU Anti-doping rules (rules which were said to be in conformity with the World Anti-doping Code). A subsequent ISU Disciplinary Commission found Pechstein guilty as charged and inter alia imposed a two-year period of ineligibility. On 21 July 2009, Pechstein, as supported by her national federation (“DESG”), filed statements of appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), and a hearing took place in Lausanne on 22–23 October 2009. Central to Pechstein’s challenge, and to the import of this case as a whole, were arguments surrounding the credibility, reliability and legality of longitudinal blood profiling as a means of anti-doping control. The CAS Panel, bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegations and based on an extensive review of the scientific evidence, found that the ISU had discharged its burden of proving to the comfortable satisfaction of the Panel that the athlete’s abnormal blood values could not be reasonably explained by any congenital or subsequently development abnormality but must have derived from the athlete’s illicit manipulation of her own blood.

Title of seriesASSER International Sports Law Series
Publication date31/12/2013
PublisherTMC Asser Press
Publisher URL…90-6704-909-2_13
Place of publicationThe Hague, Netherlands
ISSN of series1874-6926

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Dr David McArdle

Dr David McArdle

Senior Lecturer, Law