Statement from team Sweeney re doping accusations
Irish-boxing.com recieved the following statement from Gary Sweeney’s legal team this morning. The background to the European youth silver medalist enforced ‘period of INELIGIBILITY’ for testing postive to a banned substance is explained.
Mr. Gary Sweeney attended an Appeal held before the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Appeal Panel on 10 May 2012 with a view to appealing the previous decision of the Disciplinary Panel (initially heard on the 2nd April 2012) in the matter of Irish Amateur Boxing Association v. Gary Sweeney.
A period of ineligibility was initially imposed against Mr. Sweeney between the periods 19th December 2011 to 18th September 2012 on account of Mr. Sweeney breach of Article 2.1 of the Irish Anti-doping rules.
A notice of appeal was lodged on Mr. Sweeney’s behalf by Cahir O’Higgins & Company Solicitors and Mr. Sweeney was represented at the Appeal by his brother and trainer, Martin Sweeney.
The background to the breach of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules occurred as a result of Mr. Sweeney’s brother Martin Sweeney providing Mr. Sweeney with one 20mg tablet of medication, which was prescribed for their mother Bridget Sweeney a year before, to reduce swelling caused by an injury to Mr. Sweeney’s leg. Unbeknownst to Mr. Sweeney or his brother, this tablet contained traces of Furosemide which is listed on the Prohibited List 2011 and 2012.
Mr. Sweeney admitted the rule violation and was appealing only the severity of the sanction and consequences imposed in light of his unintentional consumption of the prohibited substance.
Like the Disciplinary Panel, the Appeal Panel heard evidence from Mr. Sweeney and Martin Sweeney as to how the prohibited substance entered his body and his lack of intention to enhance his performance through ingesting the substance or thereby using same to mask a performance enhancing substance.
The circumstances in which Mr. Sweeney took the medication were confirmed by Dr. Kieran O’Reilly, in a therapeutic use exemption application form on the 2nd December 2011 and a hand written letter. Dr. O’Reilly further provided the Irish Sports Council with a copy of the prescription for Bridget Sweeney dated 10th September 2010.
The bone fides of Mr Sweeney and Martin Sweeney’s evidence and how the substance came into Mr. Sweeney’s body was accepted by the IABA and neither witness was cross examined.
The appeal panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr. Sweeney allowed the prohibited substances into his body via the tablet which was prescribed to his mother by Dr. O’Reilly and given to him by Martin Sweeney.
Mr. Sweeney further established to the Appeal Panel’s satisfaction that the he did not take the prohibited substance with the intention of enhancing his sport performance or of masking the use of a performance-enhancing substance.
At the Appeal Hearing, the IABA would accept that the sanction of a period of ineligibility of 12 months to be reduced to a period of nine months. It was noted by the Disciplinary Panel’s Decision it is to Mr. Sweeney’s significant credit “that the violation was immediately admitted on his behalf by Martin Sweeney who sought to take responsibility for it as early as 18th November 2011”
Following all matters being considered, in circumstances where Mr. Sweeney’s admission was furnished promptly to the relevant authorities, the Appeal Panel has determined that it is appropriate for the period of ineligibility to commence on 22nd October 2011 and expires on the 21st July 2012.
Mr. Sweeney thanks the Appeal Panel for their determination and all persons who supported Mr. Sweeney and his family throughout this matter.