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The CAS releases official report on Salazar ban

The report seemed to cast some doubt on the appropriateness of the bans, while still upholding them

Alberto Salazar

Reports on Wednesday announced the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had upheld the four-year suspension imposed on former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar and former team endocrinologist, Dr. Jeffrey Brown for doping violations, and less than 24 hours later the official CAS report has been released.

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In its report, the CAS ruled that Salazar had committed three anti-doping rule violations, including possession of testosterone, complicity in Brown’s administration of a prohibited method and tampering with the doping control process with respect to the issue of L-carnitine infusions/syringes. Similarly, Brown was charged with four violations, including complicity in Salazar’s possession of testosterone, trafficking of testosterone to Salazar, administration of a prohibited method and tampering with the doping control process.

The investigation into Salazar and the NOP began in 2015 when a BBC Panorama documentary entitled “Catch Me If You Can” alleged the coach used prescription drugs and therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to push the boundaries of performance. The film interviewed former NOP athlete Kara Goucher and former coach Steve Magness, who described the experiments Salazar performed to determine exactly how much testosterone cream could be applied to an athlete’s skin without triggering a positive test. An experiment was also done to test a rapid-acting (and illegal, under WADA rules) infusion of a supplement known to boost the body’s L-carnitine levels, which in turn helps the body convert fat to energy.

Photo: Cal Hopkins/Wikimedia

In 2017, a leaked  U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report from 2016 indicated that Salazar had been giving his athletes, including Sir Mo Farah, the amino acid L-carnitine, via an IV drip. L-carnitine is not a banned substance, but infusions of more than 50 mL in the span of six hours are prohibited, and reports claimed the coach “almost certainly” broke those rules.

Throughout the process, Salazar has continued to deny the allegations, and none of his former athletes, including Farah, Galen Rupp, Sifan Hassan, Matthew Centrowitz and Canada’s Cam Levins have ever tested positive for illegal substances, which the CAS notes in its report. It also acknowledged that the way in which USADA’s  investigation was conducted was “out of proportion and excessive when compared to the severity and consequences of the ADRVs [anti-doping rule violations] that have been established,” yet it still upheld the bans: “the Panel was satisfied that the rules have been properly applied, and that, on the basis of the ADRV’s found by the CAS Panel, the sanctions have been determined in accordance with the relevant version of the WADC.”

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Click here to read the full CAS report.