The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has dismissed Heiki Nabi's appeal against the decision of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upholding the 2-year ban imposed on Heiki Nabi.
From the ESTCIS's point of view, the dispute in the Nabi case was a matter of principle - the aim was to establish the truth and to bring clarity to the application of the rules. According to Henn Vallimäe, member of the EADSE Board, the decisions in the case confirm that EADSE has ensured fair application of the sporting rules and that the case has been handled in accordance with the applicable principles and regulations.
The CAS decision dismissed in its entirety the appeal by Greek-Roman wrestler Heiki Nabi and upheld the 2-year ban imposed by the Estonian Anti-Doping Disciplinary Board based on the presence of the banned substance letrozole in the doping sample. Heiki Nabi appealed against the CAS decision to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, arguing that the sanctioning of an athlete in a situation where he cannot be considered to have intentionally cheated but cannot prove the source of the accidental contamination is contrary to Swiss public policy. The Swiss Federal Supreme Court disagreed, and the principle therefore remains that an athlete is liable for the presence of a prohibited substance in his body unless he can prove the source of the alleged contamination and that he has been diligent in avoiding doping offences.
Instead of the usual four-year ban, a two-year ban will apply unless it is directly proven that the athlete intentionally committed an anti-doping rule violation. Thus, as the CAS also explained in the case of Heiki Nabi, no athlete who has been banned from competing for two years or less can be called a cheater. In this respect, the case of Heiki Nabi is no different from other similar cases.
However, the fact of the presence of a banned substance in the body will still be considered a doping violation if the athlete fails to prove the source of the alleged contamination and that he or she has been diligent in avoiding contamination. In such a case, a 2-year ban will normally apply. If the source of the contamination is proven, depending on the circumstances of the contamination, it is possible to shorten the 2-year ban or to waive the sanction altogether. In the case of Heiki Nabi, there was no basis for such a decision as none of the four possible contamination scenarios put forward by the athlete were considered credible and proven by CAS.
The case of Heiki Nabi demonstrates that international rules and practice require athletes to take preventive measures to avoid doping violations and to prove their diligence in this respect. For example, accurate training diaries, documentation on the control of the composition and origin of the food consumed, as well as of the food supplements, the time and quantities of food acquired and consumed, etc., can be important evidence in doping proceedings. Professional athletes and their teams should consider and implement measures to prevent doping violations and to secure evidence.