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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v XYZ


Anti-doping – cannabis – admitted violation – athlete is USA based professional basketballer who had not secured a contract for any team in 2010/11 season and did not expect would do so – athlete gave evidence used cannabis with friends at end of March when thought no prospect of competing – then unexpectedly got contract with NBL team in NZ – tested positive for cannabis after first game with NBL team on April 16 – after test he immediately told NBL coach possibility would fail test due to prior cannabis use in USA – as result of his voluntary statement NBL terminated his contract and he returned to USA – if had not made voluntary statement likely would have played several more games before positive test result known – 4 months’ suspension starting point for cannabis violation – aggravating factor that took risk in playing when he knew there could be problems due to his cannabis use a few weeks earlier – mitigating factors included: cannabis use in March was not in breach of the WADA Code or the Sports Anti-Doping Rules as he was not contracted at that time (although later was in breach when tested positive in competition); honesty in voluntarily disclosing to coach that might fail drug test and explanation of why, and his subsequent openness and co-operation with Drug Free Sport New Zealand; and significant adverse impact on him of his voluntary disclosure which led to immediate termination of his contract – other factors noted by Tribunal were that long suspension could result in loss of opportunity of international contract for upcoming season, and his honesty and openness – given mitigating factors (particularly voluntary admission made immediately after test and consequences that followed), Tribunal prepared to take into account the effect of his voluntary admission and effective suspension from 17 April after his contract terminated – Tribunal imposed a further four week period of suspension from date of hearing until 11 July 2011, resulting effectively in total suspension of 12 weeks.

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