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Media questions on Israeli arbiter sparked delay
The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced today that a delay has pushed to the end of January the final decision in the case of Alberto Contador and the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) versus the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union.
In a press release, the CAS stated that questions raised in the media surrounding the composition of the arbitration panel caused a delay in the decision process.
Last week, RadioShack-Nissan owner Flavio Becca insinuated that because Saxo Bank trained in Israel last month, there was a bias from Israeli judge Ephraim Barak towards Contador, who will keep or lose his 2010 Tour de France title based upon the panel's decision on whether or not the RFEC correctly decided to clear him on doping charges.
The CAS was forced to publicly deny that any prejudice for Contador exists, and the UCI and WADA both stated that neither party challenged the independence of the panel.
"The CAS has requested the parties to clarify whether, at this stage, any of them wanted to challenge the composition of the arbitral panel. As all answers were negative, the Panel will now be able to resume its mission. Unfortunately, this regrettable incident has slightly delayed the work of the Panel."
The CAS expects a final decision on whether or not Contador should be punished for the positive test for Clenbuterol by January 31.
In a separate story, the Associated Press reported that WADA lawyers came close to walking out of the proceedings when the panel blocked testimony by one of its scientific experts, Michael Ashenden.