Hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has instigated legal proceedings as he looks to challenge the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport following his eight-year ban from the game.
Ralepelle, who tested positive for the anabolic agent Zeranol during an out-of-competition test on 17 January 2019, denies ever taking the banned substance and believes there has been a concerted effort to discredit him and portray him as a repeat offender despite evidence to the contrary.
In a statement released on Friday, it was confirmed that Ralepelle’s legal team will argue that there were multiple inaccuracies in SAIDs findings and will challenge procedural failures by the sporting body, entrusted to ensure fairness in the much-loved sport.
This is not the first time that Ralepelle has been falsely accused of taking a banned substance. In 2010 he and Bjorn Basson both returned positive samples for a banned stimulant following a Test against Ireland. The decision has later ruled a No-Fault decision after it was revealed that the coaching staff provided the supplement to the entire squad during the tour. SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux later publicly apologised to Chiliboy following the ordeal.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has propelled the world to have honest conversations around systematic injustices & policies, affecting the black community; and the South African sports fraternity is no exception to this conversation.
Ralepelle himself was quoted in the statement, saying he refused to be the fall guy and will fight to clear his name.
‘The last few months have been an absolute nightmare for my family and me, but I refuse to be the fall guy for a corrupt system, one utterly determined to destroy lives and livelihoods of athletes of colour,’ Ralepelle said in the statement.
‘I have dedicated my life to this sport, and should this be the end, then so be it, but if they expect me to just go off quietly into the night, then they have another thing coming. I won’t stop until my name is cleared.
‘I do believe that we, as black rugby players, are held to a different standard. Racial inequalities continue to persist in the sport, and I, for one, will continue to fight, so that future generations of the sport, don’t have to,’ he added.
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