UCI spells out its case against Keisse

Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele

Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The UCI has issued a long press release reiterating its position regarding Iljo Keisse and his legal battle to compete in the Rotterdam Six Day.

On Thursday afternoon, the Belgian rider won a last-minute appeal in a Dutch court and competed on the track with partner Kenny De Ketele. Keisse and De Ketele ended the first evening in third place behind early leaders Danny Stam and Leon Van Bon.

The UCI and Keisse have been locked in a legal battle since the Belgian tested positive for the stimulant cathine and the masking agents chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide during the Ghent Six in 2008. He was suspended but then began a legal battle in Belgium, claiming there had been a breach of his rights of defence.

A Belgian court has ruled he is free to compete until his case is fully resolved but the UCI and WADA insist his two-year ban is valid in the rest of the world.

In a terse statement on Thursday, the UCI warned: “If the rider would take the start after all, the UCI Commissaires will completely ignore him and his team, (their names won’t appear on starting list and results of the race).”

Today the UCI has moved to explain its view on Keisse's case, pointing how that he failed to appeal his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and challenged the validity of the CAS in Belgium instead of Switzerland. The UCI said another hearing on the validity of that appeal will be held on April 11.

Keisse now risks being disqualified from the Rotterdam Six as the legal battles continue.

The full UCI statement:

Situation concerning the rider Iljo Keisse: clarification by the UCI

The Belgian cyclist Iljo Keisse tested positive during an International Cycling Union (UCI) doping control at the Six Days of Ghent in 2008.

His urine sample contained two prohibited substances: a stimulant (cathine) and masking agents (chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide). The presence of these two substances was confirmed during analysis of the B sample. Consequently, the UCI requested the Belgian Federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

According to Mr Keisse, the analyses confirmed only the presence of the stimulant and not its concentration, and the masking agents were present as a result of a food supplement that he had taken.

The Disciplinary Commission of the Belgian Federation cleared Mr Keisse in a ruling issued on 2 November 2009. The UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considered this decision to be unacceptable and lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In its ruling of 6 July 2010, CAS found that the presence and concentration of the stimulant had been properly established and that Mr Keisse was fully responsible for the presence of the masking agents. As a result, and in application of the Anti-Doping Rules, CAS imposed a two-year suspension on Mr Keisse.

Mr Keisse then applied to the Chief Judge of the Brussels Court of the First Instance to overturn CAS's decision on the basis that the latter had breached his rights of defence. This request was directed against the UCI, WADA, the Belgian Federation and the Flemish public authorities.

In application of international law, the Chief Judge ruled that only a Swiss court was competent to rule on a Swiss arbitration decision, such as that made by CAS. However, Mr Keisse has not lodged an appeal with a Swiss court and the deadline within which to do so has elapsed.

Mr Keisse then appealed the decision of the Chief Judge of the Brussels Court of the First Instance with the Brussels Court of Appeal. After the pleadings, which took place in October 2010, the Court reopened, by a ruling of 10 November 2010, proceedings to establish the position of the parties on the question, raised by the court but not by Mr Keisse, of whether the CAS is a genuine court of arbitration. The Court scheduled a further hearing for 11 April 2011 to debate the matter.

Thus the Court has not in any way issued a ruling on the culpability of Mr Keisse, and the latter is not even the subject of the debate. The Court has not even made a pronouncement on its competence. The Court has only ordered, as an interim measure, the provisional suspension of the execution of CAS's decision while awaiting a ruling on Mr Keisse's appeal, which will be issued at the hearing of 11 April 2011.

The UCI and WADA consider that this decision by a Belgian court concerning the execution of a ruling by CAS, a Swiss court of arbitration, is limited in its effects to Belgian territory. Furthermore, the ruling issued yesterday in Amsterdam to which the UCI was not a party, is based solely on the contract between Mr Keisse and the organiser; thus it does not affect the UCI’s position.

It is for this reason that the UCI has prohibited Mr Keisse from competing in events outside Belgium. The UCI has allowed Mr Keisse to participate in events in this country and consequently has respected the ruling of the Brussels Court of Appeal."

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.