Cesar Cielo, Brazilian Teammates Sufficiently Proved Innocence in Positive Drug Test, CAS Findings Conclude

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 29. THE Court of Arbitration for Sport has released its official findings in the much-hyped case involving Cesar Cielo and three other Brazilian swimmers, saying the four sufficiently proved the existence of a banned substance in their system was the result of cross-contamination at a pharmacy.

Cielo, as well as Henrique Barbosa, Nicholas Santos and Vinicius Waked, were initially given warnings by the Brazlian swimming federation after all four tested positive for the banned substance furosemide at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet in June. Furosemide is commonly used by athletes as a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs.

FINA appealed the punishment to CAS, saying the athletes should receive a stricter punishment, for testing positive, even though they never contested the argument that the furosemide was put into the swimmers' caffeine pills as part of cross contamination at the source. CAS did not fully rule in FINA's favor, upholding the warnings for three of the swimmers, but giving Waked a one-year suspension, as it was his second doping offense.

Cielo would win the world championships title in the 50 butterfly three days after the CAS ruling, becoming very emotional immediately after the race and on the awards podium. Cielo will go into tomorrow's 50 freestyle final as the second seed behind teammate Bruno Fratus.

The CAS finding shows that the caffeine pills were prescribed by Cielo's doctor in 2009, but does not go further to explain why the other three athletes were consuming them. It goes on to state that the remaining caffeine pills found in all the bottles belonging to the four athletes contained trace amounts of furosemide and that this cross contamination was traced to an unnamed pharmacy. This pharmacy had been preparing medications for other clients that required furosemide on the same day the caffeine pills were manufactured for the swimmers.

In giving three of the four swimmers the minimum penalty, the three-person CAS panel said they found no evidence that the furosemide was being used as a masking agent.

Following is the full announcement from CAS:

Following the announcement of the CAS decisions on 21 July 2011 in the case of FINA v. Cesar Cielo, Nicholas dos Santos, Henrique Barbosa and Vinicius Waked and the Brazilian Aquatics Confederation (CBDA), the CAS Panel in charge of these matters has now delivered its final award with reasons.

The CAS Panel, composed of Alan Sullivan QC (Australia) President, Olivier Carrard (Switzerland) and Jeffrey Benz (USA) decided to apply Article 10.4 of the FINA Doping Control Rules, identical to Article 10.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), to each of the four Brazilian swimmers. Such article provides that:

"Where a Competitor or other Person can establish how a Specified Substance entered his or her body or came into his or her Possession and that such Specified Substance was not intended to enhance the Competitor's sport performance or mask the Use of a performance-enhancing substance, the period of Ineligibility found in Article 10.2 [applicable in case of prohibited substances] shall be replaced with the following:

First violation: At a minimum, a reprimand and no period of Ineligibility from future Competitions and at a maximum, two years' of Ineligibility.


The Competitor's or other Person's degree of fault shall be the criterion considered in assessing any reduction of the period of Ineligibility". [According to Article 10.7 of the FINA DC Rules, the minimum sanction for a second anti-doping rule violation with a specified substance is one year of ineligibility].

Contrary to the situation that existed before the implementation of the FINA DC Rules/WADC 2009 edition, furosemide and other diuretics can now be considered as ‘specified substances' in accordance with Article 10.4 above.

In the present matter, the CAS Panel was satisfied that:

— The caffeine capsules were prescribed by the doctor of Cesar Cielo since the end of 2009;
— The caffeine capsules were manufactured by the same pharmacy since that time;
— The caffeine used for the preparation of the capsules was pure and not mixed with other substances;
— The substance furosemide was detected by a WADA-accredited laboratory in Rio de Janeiro (LABDOP) in the caffeine capsules that remained in the bottle of capsules used by the Athletes;
— The pharmacy that prepared the caffeine capsules admitted that on the same day, it had also made up, for other clients, several prescriptions for the treatment of heart disease, an ingredient of which was furosemide;
— The urine concentration of the athletes was normal and was not diluted, which means that furosemide could not have been used as a masking agent in this case.

The above-mentioned elements were not challenged by FINA, which acknowledged that the furosemide was not intended to enhance the performance of the Athletes or to mask the use of a performance enhancing substance and which accepted the application of Article 10.4 FINA DC Rules. However, FINA argued that the fault committed by the athletes was sufficiently serious to justify the imposition of a period of a three-month suspension in the cases of Cielo, Barbosa and dos Santos and a one-year suspension in the case of Waked.

The CAS Panel recognised that the use of food supplements by athletes was generally risky, but that, in the present case, the athletes had taken sufficient precautions to reduce their fault or negligence to the minimum. Accordingly, the CAS Panel has decided to apply the minimum sanctions provided in the FINA DC Rules.

The final award, with the grounds, is published on the CAS website (www.tas-cas.org).

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