PSL

Player to fight drug ban in court

2016-09-11 08:15
Thandani Ntshumayelo (Gallo Images)

Banned former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo is taking legal action against the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) for “unreliable” findings against him.

The player is set to approach the courts to have the analytical report by the SA Doping Control Laboratory, as well as the SAIDS ruling and sanctions, set aside.

City Press has seen the letter written to the institute.

The letter gave the institute until Wednesday to lift the player’s four-year ban from participation in all sports, which was handed down by an independent panel in association with the institute after Ntshumayelo pleaded guilty to a drug-violation charge.

The letter further stated that the player could pursue further legal action for defamation and financial loss due to the termination of his contract.

The 26-year-old had tested positive for cocaine during a routine drug test following an Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars at the Orlando Stadium on January 9. Pirates have since terminated his contract.

According to the letter, the player is contesting the authenticity of the findings and the legitimacy of the test analysis done by the doping-control laboratory in Bloemfontein.

This is because the laboratory has been suspended and prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) from carrying out doping tests, including analyses of urine and blood samples, which would mean that the laboratory’s test was irregular and that its findings could not be relied upon.

The laboratory was suspended by Wada after it allegedly failed to meet the agency’s standards for doping control.

Part of the letter reads: “It is further public knowledge that from March 2016, the aforesaid laboratory has been under renovations so that its facilities should meet the stringent requirements of Wada.

“According to reports, Wada is on record that the accreditation of the SA Doping Control Laboratory would be restored on September 30 2016.”

“Our argument is that his [Ntshumayelo’s] urine sample was tested by an unlicensed laboratory and that the analytical report issued by the same laboratory is invalid,” said a source close to the player.

The source added that Wada regulations had been violated and not complied with.

“The SAIDS relied on the analytical report of an unlicensed doping laboratory to make an adverse finding against our client,” the letter said.

“Given that the analysis was conducted on January 14 2016, the SAIDS violated our client’s right to a timely hearing ... and our client’s right to be heard by a fair and impartial hearing body,” read part of the letter.

“Our client only admitted to have taken a banned substance after he had been placed under pressure by his agent who impressed upon our client that there is no way that the
laboratory and the SAIDS could tell lies.”

It is believed that Ntshumayelo’s legal team will also engage Pirates, who acted on the SAIDS ruling by suspending him from playing.

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