World Taekwondo Federation Withdraws Sanction On Eve of Court of Arbitration for Sport Hearing: Two-Year Ban for Alleged Anti-Doping Violation Lifted

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Preti Flaherty, a law firm headquartered in Portland, Maine, announced today that the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has withdrawn an indefensible two-year sanction it levied against Caroline Maher, an Egyptian Taekwondo athlete, for an alleged anti-doping rules violation. The WTF made the decision on the eve of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Preti Flaherty, a law firm headquartered in Portland, Maine, announced today that the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has withdrawn an indefensible two-year sanction it levied against Caroline Maher, an Egyptian Taekwondo athlete, for an alleged anti-doping rules violation. The WTF made the decision on the eve of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland (CAS 2011/A/2538 Caroline Maher v. World Taekwondo Federation).

Attorney Paul Greene, a sports law attorney with Preti Flaherty, appealed the WTF’s decision on behalf of Maher to the CAS. During the CAS proceeding, the WTF was exposed for denying Maher multiple fundamental rights, including the right to a fair hearing and the right to see the evidence relied upon by the WTF in banning her for two years. The WTF did not release Maher’s unreliable test results until the week before the scheduled hearing under order of the CAS Panel. The WADA lab report seriously questioned the integrity of the urine samples and was highly skeptical of the results. Under duress, the WTF withdrew Maher’s suspension since it was apparent that her suspension could not be defended. (Sources: Court of Arbitration for Sport case record and WADA lab report).

Maher, 25, was born in Egypt and began competing in the sport of Taekwondo at 10 years of age. She narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008 and has been focused on representing Egypt in the London 2012 Olympic Games. In December of 2010, Maher was directed to report for Out-of-Competition drug testing to be performed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Maher was ill with a common cold at the time of the testing and reported the medicines prescribed by her family doctor (none of which were banned Out-of-Competition) to the WADA Doping Control Officer. Five months after being testing, Maher was told that her A Sample had apparently tested positive for steroids. Her B Sample was never tested. In August, Maher was informed that she had been banned for two years for an anti-doping violation without a hearing. (Sources: Court of Arbitration for Sport case record and WADA lab report).

About the Preti Sports Law Group

The Preti Sports Law Group is devoted to the protection of athletes’ rights worldwide. It handles anti-doping matters and a multitude of other cases that involve athletic disputes. More information about the Preti Sports Law Group is available at http://www.preti.com.

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Marnie Grumbach
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