There is no end in sight for the drug case involving former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo.
A war of words has ensued between the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) and legal representatives, Langa Attorneys.
Added to the mix is Ntshumayelo’s agent Tim Sukazi, who has also hit back at allegations that he influenced the player to plead guilty.
The 26-year-old midfielder pleaded guilty to taking cocaine after he tested positive for the drug earlier this year.
He was consequently handed a four-year ban from any competitive sporting activities.
Last week, City Press ran a story in which the attorneys questioned the integrity of the laboratory in Bloemfontein that analysed the player’s urine sample.
This week, the institute accused Langa Attorneys of misrepresenting the facts and prejudicing Ntshumayelo after missing the deadline to appeal his ban.
But Langa Attorneys insisted it had not missed the deadline, saying it would lodge the appeal tomorrow.
According to Langa Attorneys, the 30 days will lapse tomorrow as the hearing was heard on August 16.
But in its response, Saids accused the attorneys of prejudicing the player.
“It is important to say, publicly, that in deciding to treat this matter as an opportunity to litigate in the media, the attorneys for Mr Ntshumayelo have not only misrepresented the facts, they have also failed to bring an appeal as required by the rules and law. By doing so they have, in their own version, fatally prejudiced him,” reads Saids’ statement.
“Ntshumayelo not only told the truth and pleaded guilty, he also expressly explained what he took; when; and why.”
Langa Attorneys has since given notice “that our client would proceed to the high court to set aside the outcome and sentence of the Saids disciplinary enquiry”.
The law firm argued that the appeal process would not be a fair one and would be a waste of time.
“According to our sources, the collection and subsequent testing of our client’s urine sample was prearranged weeks before the game of the 9th of January by a senior Orlando Pirates official and two officials of Saids,” reads part of the letter from the attorneys to the institute.
“Therefore, it would appear that the only option is for our client to be subjected to a re-hearing, which should be preceded by the setting aside of the outcome of the aforesaid Saids disciplinary hearing, by Saids itself or by the high court.”
Meanwhile, Sukazi has hit back at claims that he advised the player to plead guilty.
He said he was seeking leave to divulge the recorded contents of the player’s confession with one of the company’s employees.
“If the need arises I will do so. He made his own confession. Where and when would I have pressurised him when he never spoke to me?” asked Sukazi.
See http://city-press.news24.com/ for the full Saids statement or see below.
SAIDS has an onerous responsibility
to ensure that a clear message is sent to all South Africans about anti-doping. There
is no choice in the matter. Every
sporting code, every athlete, is subject to the code and it should by now be
obvious to everyone that transgressions place individuals, institutions, and
countries at risk.
SAIDS performs its
work in terms of clear rules. These rules are approved by the World Anti-Doping
Agency and they are implemented in accordance with rigorous international standards. Athletes
are entitled to hearings, which are independent and fair, if an adverse
analytical finding is returned as a result of a test. If they are unhappy with
the outcome of the hearing they are entitled to an appeal before a statutory
appeal board, which is itself also independent.
In South Africa in 2016 we cannot
afford reckless commentary which places athletes at risk through confusing
messages. These include allegations being made of conspiracies or that SAIDS,
and/or WADA, and/or the fight against doping somehow contravene fundamental
rights enshrined in the South African constitution.
The fight against doping has various
aims and these include health, fair competition, and respect for principles
that every sports person believes in. Nobody
seriously thinks it could be acceptable to play a sport but ignore the rules. The
rules of sport incorporate the anti-doping rules, and each of us who
participate in sport know that very well.
Sadly, SAIDS is now having to deal
with what are reckless, and defamatory, allegations by a footballer, Mr
Thandani Ntshumayelo. These are being advanced in letters which are then
printed verbatim in news publications and suggest conspiracies, unlawful
testing and that he was compelled to tell the truth. None
of that is true. On the last issue, Mr
Ntshumayelo not only told the truth and pleaded guilty he also expressly
explained what he took, when, and why.
SAIDS does not engage in public
commentary about matters save to make disclosure as required by the anti-doping
exception is when athletes decide to make comments, and in particular harmful
and defamatory comments, which can cause confusion and so threaten the careers
of other athletes. Mr.
attorneys have provided the letters they have written to media publications for
reasons we do not pretend to understand. To
set the record straight SAIDS believes it is necessary to provide the above
context and all the correspondence.
To the extent that any further
defamatory comment is published about SAIDS this will need to be dealt with via
the appropriate legal channels in due course. It
is important to say, publicly, that in deciding to treat this matter as an
opportunity to litigate in the media, the attorneys for Mr. Ntshumayelo have not
only misrepresented the facts, they have also failed to bring an appeal as
required by the rules and law. By doing so they have, on their own version,
fatally prejudiced him.
Chief Executive Officer