Aphiwe Dyantyi’s representatives have asserted in an appeal that the Springbok wing’s sanction should not be more than two years, even in a worst-case scenario. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Last week, SARugbymag.co.za broke the news that Dyantyi had been informed of the right to lodge an appeal directly with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, which followed in the wake of a four-year ban for a doping offence handed down towards the end of last year.
An independent panel had recommended the sanction after finding that he had ‘failed to satisfy the burden of proof to establish that his positive dope test was not intentional’ – a decision that was then confirmed and accepted by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids).
This outcome followed a protracted process after the shock news in 2019 when it was confirmed that Dyantyi’s mandatory B sample had come back testing positive for three banned substances after a national training camp.
At the time the ban was announced in December, Dyantyi’s agent, Gert van der Merwe, said they were shocked by the outcome.
Reports also suggested part of the defence presented was that Dyantyi had unknowingly consumed the banned substances on 30 June 2019 – a couple days before his urine sample was taken – when he drank from a friend’s bottle during a gym session.
According to the initial ruling handed down to Dyantyi, he was effectively ‘banned from participating in sport from the date of 13th August 2019 [when he was provisionally suspended] to 12th August 2023’.
However, the 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year is now in a position to lodge his appeal directly with CAS because, at the time of the test, he was classified as an international athlete under the jurisdiction of World Rugby.
Dyantyi’s representatives hope that another panel will come to a different conclusion.
There has been acknowledgement of having the banned substances in his system, but part of the defence includes the assertion that there was no intent or fault (beyond negligence) on the part of Dyantyi.
In a statement to this website on Tuesday, Van der Merwe said the following could be quoted: ‘We appealed to CAS to set aside the decision by the Anti-Doping Tribunal of the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport [Saids]. That the CAS panel confirm the appeal of Dyantyi and accept that he did not intentionally ingest the banned substance nor attempt to enhance his performance by ingesting the said prohibited substance.
‘Considering that, in case of no significant fault or negligence, the sanction should, in accordance with the applicable WADA rules, be in the range of one to two years of suspension.
‘However, if the panel considered that the player did bear some fault or negligence, even if it was not significant, and that he should have taken more measures to prevent him from accidentally ingesting the ADRV [anti-doping rule violations], the CAS panel can consider that the appropriate sanction would be anything from 14 months to 24 months in light of Dyantyi’s degree of fault.’
Should it be found that the suspension should be reduced to two years, for example, Dyantyi would then be expected to be able to return to action after 12 August 2021.