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Iljo Keisse (John Saey - Mega Deschacht)
Rotterdam Six Day invites Belgian despite continued legal questions
The Six Days of Rotterdam has provisionally invited Iljo Keisse to ride. The Belgian is currently in a dispute with the International Cycling Union (UCI) as to whether he can ride outside of Belgium, with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) now weighing in on the side of the UCI.
Keisse tested positive for two forbidden substances at the Gent Six Day race in 2008. The national federation dismissed the charges but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) imposed a two-year ban. Last month the Belgian court of appeal allowed him to ride again, pending a final decision next spring.
After winning the Gent Six Day race, Keisse went on to ride in Zurich. Last weekend he was set to ride in the Manchester Revolution, but the UCI told the organiser not to allow him, saying that under the court ruling, his ban was lifted only within Belgium.
Keisse has said he will ask the Belgian court to take action against the UCI. The court had said that it could impose a 100,000 Euro fine against anyone who prevented him from riding. That fine could apparently also be applied to races who withdraw invitations to him.
"If we hear nothing from the UCI. Keisse may start, " said Frank Boele, the Rotterdam race organizer, to sportwereld.be. "We know that we would otherwise have to pay a penalty. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, but for now Iljo is simply on the list of participants. "
WADA criticizes Belgian action
WADA president John Fahey issued a statement on the issue, criticizing the Belgian court's action. The CAS ruling is valid worldwide, but Keisse chose to appeal it not within Switzerland, where the CAS is located, but in the Belgium court system.
"Thus, Mr. Keisse has been able to ride on Belgian territory as a result of an interim decision of the Belgian Court which has jurisdiction in Belgium only,” he said.
"The WADA supports both the UCI and the CAS, he said. “I am truly concerned of this rather unusual situation in Belgium as it constitutes a threat to the acceptance of CAS as the international sports court for all athletes, and is therefore, a direct affront to clean athletes, and the integrity of clean sport.”