Two bites of the apple- limitation in professional negligence cases
Dan Evans was ranked 43 in the world when his tennis career came to an earth-shattering halt following his failed drug test at an ATP event in Barcelona where cocaine was found in his system. Mr Evans admitted his anti-doping rule violation in a letter to the International Tennis Federation, (ITF) dated 26 June 2017 admitting that while out of competition he had ingested a small amount of cocaine. He had stored the leftover drugs in the pocket of his washbag which also held (permitted) medication. He relied on expert evidence to demonstrate that the presence of a very small amount of cocaine in his system (less than 1-3mg) was consistent with inadvertent contamination (i.e. contamination of his fingers and/or the medication he was handling) as opposed to deliberate ingestion. On the basis of this expert evidence, he persuaded the ITF that he bore ‘No Significant Fault or Negligence’ and received a 12 month ban. See our blog 'Social Drugs Findings In Sport: Doping or Misconduct' for more information on these proceedings.
Mr Evans returned to professional tennis on Saturday securing his place in the second round of qualifying at the Glasgow Challenger. However, his return to sport should serve as a reminder to all sports women and men that use of recreational drugs, even when taken out of competition, can have significant consequences. Indeed, had Mr Evans failed to convince the ITF that his ingestion was unintentional he would have faced a ban with a starting point of four years. That, for many is career-ending.
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