CAS could issue final sentence at the end of March

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© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Simona Halep would like to be able to compete again at the Paris Olympics 2024but everything will depend on the final ruling that will be issued by the CAS. And according to rumors from a few minutes ago coming from insiders, the final sentence should arrive between the end of March and the beginning of April.

There were important developments in the case of the Romanian champion, who was given a four-year suspension for doping in September 2023 for having tested positive for roxadustat following the 2022 US Open. An accusation to which was added further irregularity on her biological passport.

At the end of three days of proceedings for the appeal presented by the former world number one, held at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Halep made some brief statements to the media present, hoping for a positive resolution to the case.

At the end of the hearing, in which the two-time slam champion presented her defense, Halep said she was confident in the evolution of the trial. “I had the chance to show my defense and I really believe that the truth will come out and that the day to return to the court will be soon,” told the Romanian tennis player to the reporters outside the court.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Matthew Stockman / Staff Getty Images Sport

From the first moment she was accused of testing positive for doping, Halep rejected any responsibility for her, attributing responsibility for her positive test to the US Open to contaminated and authorized supplements.

Howard Jacobs, the tennis player’s lawyer, said the CAS had listened to her arguments, but it was unclear when the court would issue its ruling. The hope of the 32-year-old Romanian is to be exonerated as soon as possible, in order to be able to compete again this season, with one dream in particular: taking part in the Olympics.

In a recent interview with Paris Match, the former number one had in fact declared:

“There is very little chance that I will be able to participate, but I will do everything to make it happen. Whatever happens, I will be there. Worst case scenario, as a spectator, because it will be magical. I love Paris. It is a city where, beyond my sporting successes, I feel at home. If the sanction is confirmed, I cannot know what will happen in the next three years and how my body will evolve. My dream is to return, at any age. One thing is certain: I want to choose how to end my career and I don’t want to end it anywhere other than on the court.”

In fact, again according to the same insiders, it seems that the CAS is oriented towards confirming the ban, or towards a reduction of the sentence, which however would not allow Simona to be able to play in the Paris Olympics. Although Simona’s appeal could provide some surprises.

There are many points to clarify regarding the matter, not to mention that Simona was arrested for almost a year without having a precise sentence. A truly unworthy treatment towards an athlete who marked the last years of tennis history. Perhaps also for this reason, the CAS could move towards a softer sentence.

Is there any chance that the CAS will find Simona Innocent? I believe there is some possibility, albeit remote. Simona would never have knowingly and voluntarily taken a prohibited drug (or supplement). It is very possible that you were the victim of contamination and that you are not involved in the matter.

This will obviously have to be proven, however. Secondly, there is also the issue of the biological passport. Perhaps Halep plays her toughest game there. Even if she is not involved, proving the truth will be more difficult about this.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

The CAS said about: “The court has no reason to doubt the strong unanimous opinion of the three independent experts, according to which probable doping is the explanation for the irregularities based on the analysis of 51 blood samples of the player.”

Speaking of CAS, returning to talk about the main topic of the article I am writing, the Lausanne court issued a statement in which it explained:

“Lausanne, 9 February 2024 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in the arbitration procedures CAS 2023/A/10025 Simona Halep v. International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) and CAS. with the final pleadings of the parties, as scheduled. The parties have been informed that the CAS Panel in charge of the matter will now deliberate and prepare the Arbitral Award containing its decision and grounds. No particular date was announced with respect to the notification of the final decision.”

But as mentioned, according to insiders who have followed the story in recent days in Lausanne, the CAS should release its verdict between the end of March and the beginning of April.

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