Sun Yang Anti-Doping Fight Cost WADA $600,000, Annual Report Says

Sun Yang, with his counsel Ian Meakin to the left, in Montreux at the CAS hearing - Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord sunyanglast3 sunyangsketch
Sun Yang, with his counsel Ian Meakin to the left, in Montreux at the CAS hearing, November 2019 - Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Sun Yang cost $600,000 in legal fees in 2019, according to the annual report released this week by WADA.

The trial before the Court for Arbitration for Sport yielded an eight-year ban for the Chinese distance star, effectively ending the 28-year-old’s swimming career. The fight stemmed from an incident in 2018 in which Sun destroyed samples before they could be tested, adding to past bans that the swimmer had received for adverse findings in his blood. Though FINA declined to pursue punishment for tampering with the sample, WADA appealed to CAS, which held a hearing in Nov. 2019 and returned its eight-year sentence on Feb. 28, 2020.

The case, according to the financial disclosures section of WADA’s 2019 annual report signed by Chief Financial Officer Dao Chung, included “more than USD600,000 invested.” WADA highlighted the case as the most significant single high-profile anti-doping case pursued in the year.

Where the issue gets thorny is the disclosure of WADA’s financing. WADA gets a large portion of its funding from governments ($17.3 million in total). The largest single governmental contributors, at $1.6 million each, are Poland, Japan … and China. It means China was effectively underwriting the prosecution of one of its highest profile athletes, while also paying Sun Yang an $18,000 per month wage as he waged various appeals via the courts.


  1. HJ Oxie

    Worth every penny if it keeps this POS out of the sport.

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