A Court of Arbitration for Sport Panel criticised anti-doping authorities' "failure to function effectively" for creating the scenario where Kamila Valieva was informed of a failed doping test at Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel which cleared Kamila Valieva to compete in the women's event at Beijing 2022 has been scathing in its criticism of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), calling one of its submissions "rather worrying" and condemning a "failure to function effectively" from anti-doping authorities.

The full written judgement has been published, explaining the CAS Panel's decision not to uphold WADA and International Skating Union appeals to reinstate a provisional suspension against Valieva.

The timing of Valieva being notified of the failed test - February 8, the day after the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won team figure skating gold at the Winter Olympics with the 15-year-old starring - was central in the Panel's decision not to impose a provisional suspension.

It judged that doing so would cause "irreparable harm" as it would rule Valieva out of the women's singles at Beijing 2022, whereas had the reporting process been completed within 20 days of the sample being collected as is laid out by WADA's International Standard for Laboratories, the athlete would have had more than two weeks before the Games to have filed a request to the CAS for provisional measures.

A WADA argument that the International Standard for Laboratories recommends rather than compels that samples are processed with 20 days was dismissed by the CAS Panel.

"The Panel finds this submission to not be compelling," reads the written judgement.

"On the contrary, it is rather worrying to hear such a submission when Athletes are held to a high standard in meeting their anti-doping obligations and at the same time, the anti-doping authorities are subject to mere recommendations on time deadlines that are designed to protect athletes from late- or inconveniently-arising claims. 

"The flexibility of the recommendations and guidelines applicable to WADA-accredited labs contrasts with the stringency of the rules on Provisional Suspensions. 

"Although all athletes’ samples are anonymous, it should be possible for anti-doping laboratories and authorities to handle anti-doping tests in a swift manner when the samples are collected at significant pre-events that may constitute selection events for the Olympic Games, such as the Russian National Championships in figure skating."

The written judgement goes on to criticise anti-doping authorities for the creation of a situation where Valieva, "through no fault of hers, and without any allegation of improper conduct of anyone... finds herself at the Olympic Winter Games being put on notice of an alleged ADRV [anti-doping rule violation] from a sample taken 44 days prior".

The CAS Ad Hoc Division refused to re-impose a provisional suspension on Kamila Valieva ©Getty Images
The CAS Ad Hoc Division refused to re-impose a provisional suspension on Kamila Valieva ©Getty Images

Processing delays at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Stockholm were blamed on staffing problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Panel did not find this compelling.

"Put simply, athletes should not be subject to the risk of serious harm occasioned by anti-doping authorities’ failure to function effectively at a high level of performance and in a manner designed to protect the integrity of the operation of the Games", the panel concluded in one of the more withering sections of the judgement.

WADA has at least partly blamed the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for the delay in testing the sample in question.

"According to information received by WADA, the sample in this case was not flagged by RUSADA as being a priority sample when it was received by the anti-doping laboratory in Stockholm", WADA said in a statement earlier this week.

The sample which returned a positive result for banned substance trimetazidine was taken on December 25.

Subsequent samples collected from Valieva on January 13 and February 7 came back negative, the CAS verdict revealed.

With a provisional suspension not imposed, Valieva was able to compete in the Olympic women's singles contest which concluded at Beijing's Capital Indoor Stadium today.

Having led at the halfway stage, Valieva fell twice in the free programme and dropped down to fourth.

Fellow ROC skater Anna Shcherbakova won the event, with compatriot Alexandra Trusova second and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto third.

Valieva missing out on the podium means there was medal ceremony - had she placed in the top three, the International Olympic Committee had announced there would not be one.

The 15-year-old was in tears at the conclusion of her free-programme routine, with the scrutiny of the past week having visibly taken a toll.

The CAS Ad Hoc Division's decision related only to a request to impose a provisional suspension, and not the underlying alleged anti-doping rule violation.

Fabio Iudica from Italy was panel President, with American Jeffrey Benz and Vesna Bergant Rakočeviċ of Slovenia completing the three-person panel.

The full decision can be viewed here.