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Freeman hearing adjourned after private session

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal hearing of the case of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has been further delayed, with the case being adjourned in a private legal session on Tuesday.

The case now goes back to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for re-listing, and will start from scratch with an entirely new panel.

The hearings began on February 6, with Freeman accused of ordering testosterone in 2011 in order to enhance the performance of an athlete who has not been named, among other charges. The origins of the case date back to a UKAD investigation into British Cycling and Team Sky medical practices that began in 2016.

Among the evidence collected in the investigation was documentation of an order for testosterone received in 2011. Freeman claimed the order was sent by the distributor Fit4Sport Ltd in error, but has been accused of lying to investigators about the order. The BBC reported in January that the note from the supplier noting the error was sent five months after the shipment was received.

With the delay, the case risks falling under WADA's statute of limitations, which in 2011 was at eight years, but has since been raised to 10.

The MPTS assured it would relist the hearing as soon as possible. "We believe it is in the public interest, and the interest of everybody involved in a case, for hearings to be completed as quickly as possible," a statement read.

The General Medical Council expressed disappointment in the case being adjourned in a statement from a spokesperson. "It is frustrating that this case has not yet got underway. We remain ready to open our case in public and hope we will be permitted to do so as soon as possible."

British Cycling, co-referrers in the case with the GMC, echoed the sentiment in a statement: "It is in the public interest and in the best interests of the sport that the allegations against Dr Richard Freeman are heard and examined openly by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. We are therefore extremely disappointed that the hearing has been adjourned. British Cycling is a co-referrer in this case and we will continue to support the General Medical Council's work as there remain historic questions to be answered."

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