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PRESS RELEASE - 14th September 2018
Statement of facts by NADO Malta regarding the Reduction of Period of Ineligibility for Mr Jonathan Caruana.
NADOMALTA would like to clarify the facts surrounding the suspension of Mr Jonathan Caruana, a football player for Valletta FC, following an anti-doping rule violation.
On 27th March 2017, Mr Caruana tested positive for the presence of a prohibited substance Ostarine, in an out-of-competition test, in both the A and B samples provided by Mr Caruana. Ostarine is the trademarked name for a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM), that is not approved for human use or consumption and is prohibited at all times under the S1. Anabolic Agent Category of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Although Mr Caruana claimed that he had not ingested any prohibited substance, Mr Caruana did not provide any proof of how the substance entered his body nor proof that he did not ingest the substance intentionally at the time of the hearing conducted by the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, and was therefore sanctioned for 4 years as per the Anti-Doping Regulations of Malta (Legal Notice 17 of 2015).
After lodging an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Mr Caruana opted to have all eight supplements that Mr Caruana was consuming at the time of the doping control test analysed at a WADA accredited laboratory. One of the supplements, glucosamine, which Mr Caruana was consuming at the time of the doping control test, was subsequently found to be contaminated with Ostarine. To this effect, Mr Caruana established the source of Ostarine in the aforementioned samples.
The regulations in relation to contaminated products set forth in the World Anti-Doping Code provides the opportunity for a substantial reduction in the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility if the athlete is able to establish a reduced degree of fault or negligence for the violation, and establish that the positive test resulted from the use of a contaminated product, as is this case.
An appropriate balance of the strict liability principle outlined in the Anti-Doping Regulations and the World Anti-Doping Code, which effectively means that the athlete is responsible for what enters his/her body, and the degree of fault or negligence (due to a lack of research on supplements carried out by Mr Caruana prior to consuming them) was sought. This was agreed (both in principle and in the actual newly proposed period of ineligibility) by Mr Caruana and by the Anti-Doping Commission.
Following this, the Anti-Doping Commission and Mr Caruana reached an agreement, sanctioned and endorsed by CAS, where (quoting):
“The Athlete recognised in this Settlement Agreement, that, as an athlete, he is responsible for what he ingests, he has a degree of fault for the anti-doping rule violation as that term is defined in the Maltese Regulations, and that the Anti-Doping Commission of Malta agreed that, given the circumstances of the case, and in accordance with its duty to act proportionately and fairly to all athletes, the Athlete’s period of ineligibility should be reduced to six months, deemed in accordance with Maltese Regulation 11(16) to have commenced on 24th April 2017 (the commencement of his period of provisional suspension) and to have ended on 23 October 2017”
Mr Caruana is therefore eligible to return to training and competing as from 14th of September 2018.
NADOMALTA would like to make it clear that, contrary to what is being claimed in certain parts of the media, that, there was no mistake with the testing procedure and laboratory analysis of Mr Caruana’s sample. His sample did contain a prohibited substance, more specifically, Ostarine, which Mr Caruana, later proved that he had ingested through a contaminated supplement.
NADOMALTA would also like to make it clear that all athletes are duty bound to carry out diligent steps to satisfy themselves as to the need for the use of any supplement, a supplement’s doping safety, and the risks that might be incurred through the use of a supplement, through careful consultation with responsible bodies such as NADO, International Federations and medical and sports science professionals and that only supplements which have been certified to be free from doping agents should be consumed. Ultimately it is the Athlete who is responsible for what he/she ingests.
Unless really needed, supplements should be avoided. A thorough research on the supplement and the manufacturer must be carried out by the athlete and records of such research saved. It is the sole responsibility of the athlete what enters into his/her body. Information on the Prohibited list and ways of checking on medicines and supplements can be found on NADOMALTA’s web site www.nadomalta.org
NADOMALTA is responsible for the doping control testing and results management process for all the athletes affiliated with clubs and associations registered with SPORTMALTA.