Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Kashechkin appeal could change face of sports drug tests

AFP , LIEGE, BELGIUM

An appeal by a lawyer for disgraced cyclist Andriy Kashechkin over the right to submit athletes to doping tests could threaten to change the face of sport in a case to be heard yesterday.

Kashechkin tested positive for homologous blood doping following this year's Tour de France -- during which his team, Astana, was thrown out when team leader Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping.

Kashechkin claims he did not inject his own blood to enhance his performance, and has even protested the legitimacy of the principle of being tested by the sports authorities.

Now his lawyer is hoping to show that submitting athletes to doping controls runs contrary to basic human rights.

Kashechkin's lawyer is Luc Misson, who co-defended Jean-Marc Bosman after the Belgian footballer took his team to the European Court of Justice, and won, over "restraint of trade" in 1995.

Misson will argue in a Belgian court on Tuesday that sports bodies such as the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) have no legal right to submit athletes to doping tests.

In essence, he believes that sports bodies, because they are run privately and are not public bodies, have no legal right to interfere in the lives of individuals.

"The Kashechkin case, as regards [the] anti-doping [rules], could be viewed in a similar vein as the Bosman ruling," Misson said.

He said: "If we lose, we will go to the court of appeal, then the Supreme Court of Appeal, then the European Court of Human Rights."

"And then we will be in a very good position. At the human rights court it would lead to a [favorable] decision at a world, if not a European level," he said.

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