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Court Favors U.S. in Drug Dispute

January 11, 2003|From Associated Press

LONDON — An arbitration court ruled Friday that USA Track & Field does not have to release the names of 13 athletes who failed drug tests from 1996 to 2000.

The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, ended a long-running dispute between the U.S. federation and the sport's world governing body.

The case centered primarily on an unidentified U.S. athlete who tested positive for steroids but was cleared on appeal and competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Friday's ruling means the athlete's name will remain confidential.

The arbitration panel said the International Assn. of Athletics Federations' rules did require members to provide the names of athletes who test positive for banned drugs.

But it said IAAF officials had refused or neglected to specify the rule to USATF, which stuck to its confidentiality policy.

"As a matter of principle, CAS decided that the IAAF was entitled under its rules to disclosure of all positive results obtained in the course of testing by USATF," the court said. "However, after considering all the relevant circumstances, CAS decided that there existed a valid reason in this case as to why USATF should not now be ordered to disclose the information requested by the IAAF."

In a statement, the USATF said, "Both IAAF and USATF agree that the CAS decision is final and binding. It ends the dispute between us."

The statement also said the ruling now assured that U.S. athletes will continue to expect to retain their privacy and confidentiality.

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