Simona Halep’s suspension reduced to just 9 months, CAS announces

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The suspension of Simona Halep was reduced from 4 years to only 9 months, informs the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on its website. As she has been suspended since August 2022, it is considered the 9-month suspension had already expired and Simona can return to the tennis court.

The appeal procedures before the CAS concerned two separate charges:
1. a charge which arose from a prohibited substance (Roxadustat) being detected in a urine sample collected from Simona Halep on 29 August 2022 during the US Open; and
2. a charge that Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), in particular a blood sample given by Ms Halep on 22 September 2022, established use of a prohibited substance and/or prohibited method.
“In its decision dated 22 September 2023, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Independent Tribunal found Ms Halep guilty of both Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRV) and imposed a four-year period of ineligibility on her.
In the appeal filed by Simona Halep at the CAS against the first instance Decision, Ms Halep requested that the sanction be reduced and be no longer than the period of the provisional suspension already served. In its separate appeal, the ITIA requested that the CAS sanction Ms Halep’s ADRVs together as one single violation based on the violation that carried the most severe sanction, and the imposition of a period of ineligibility of between four and six years.
The CAS appeal arbitration proceedings involved intensive pre-hearing processes and a three-day hearing which took place on 7-9 February 2024 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The CAS Panel heard from many lay and expert witnesses, most of whom were present in person at the hearing.
The CAS Panel has unanimously determined that the four-year period of ineligibility imposed by the ITF Independent Tribunal is to be reduced to a period of ineligibility of nine (9) months starting on 7 October 2022, which period expired on 6 July 2023. As that period expired before the appeal procedures were even lodged with the CAS, the CAS Panel has determined it appropriate to issue the operative part of the Arbitral
Award as soon as practicable, together with a comprehensive media release.
The CAS Panel has also ordered the disqualification of all competitive results achieved by Ms. Halep from 29 August 2022 (the date of her positive sample) to 7 October 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize money. Therefore, the appeal filed by the ITIA is dismissed and the appeal filed by Simona Halep is partially upheld (her request to backdate the start of the suspension on 29 August 2022 is dismissed)”, says the CAS press release.
As for the Roxadustat ingestion, CAS determined that Halep had born no significant fault or negligence.
CAS said that Simona Halep had established, “on the balance of probabilities, that the Roxadustat entered her body through the consumption of a contaminated supplement which she had used in the days shortly before 29 August 2022 and that the Roxadustat, as detected in her sample, came from that contaminated product.
As a result, the CAS Panel determined that “Ms. Halep had also established, on the balance of probabilities, that her anti-doping rule violations were not intentional. Although the CAS Panel found that Ms. Halep did bear some level of fault or negligence for her violations, as she did not exercise sufficient care when using the Keto MCT supplement, it concluded that she bore no significant fault or negligence”, CAS argued.
Simona Halep’s reaction
Simona Halep declared, on Tuesday, after the TAS decision by which the suspension applied to the tennis player was reduced from 4 years to 9 months, that she was convinced that “the truth will eventually come out and that a correct decision, because I am and always have been a clean athlete”.
“Throughout this long and difficult process, I have maintained my belief that the truth will eventually come out and that a fair decision will be reached because I am and always have been a clean athlete. My faith in this process has been tested by the outrageous allegations that have been brought against me and the seemingly unlimited resources that have been aligned against me. But in the end, the truth prevailed, even if it took a lot longer than I would have liked. I would like to thank my lawyers who stood by me and believed in me from the beginning; and most importantly, I want to thank my sponsors, fans and competitors who have stuck by me through this long and difficult process. I can’t wait to get back on the circuit“, said Simona Halep for Eurosport.
How much is supposed Halep to receive as compensation
Immediately after the decision was announced, the athlete’s lawyer, Bogdan Stoica, had a telephone intervention at Digi Sport Special, during which he revealed the amount that his client will have to receive from ITIA. “The court symbolically decided to compel ITIA to pay 20,000 Swiss francs (N.R. equivalent to approximately 21,000 euros) with the title of ‘contribution to Simona’s defense effort’,” said Simona’s legal representative.
Nadia Comaneci hails return
The former gymnastics champion Nadia Comăneci declared, on Tuesday, that she was pleased with the CAS decision to reduce the suspension of Simona Halep.
“It s about time💪💪❤️ Simona Halep cleared to return to court after four-year doping ban reduced. Abia aștept să o revăd pe teren/I can’t wait to see her on the field again❤️❤️ says Nadia’s Facebook post.

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