UK Anti-Doping were dealt a second damaging blow in the space of 24 hours when world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury declared his intention to sue the organisation.
It was reported in June that traces of banned substance nandrolone had been found by UK Anti-Doping in a sample given by Fury in February. He denied the claim at the time and his legal team say results from further tests in March and May were contradictory.
The furore surrounding Fury followed UK Anti-Doping’s failed attempt to ban British world road cycling champion Lizzie Armitstead for flouting doping rules after she missed three drugs tests during 2015.
Fury’s cousin Hughie, another boxer, has also been charged and the duo’s legal team confirmed yesterday that they have issued proceedings in the High Court. They also said an interim judgement is expected before Fury’s rematch with Ukrainian powerhouse Wladimir Klitschko in October.
“The two boxers strenuously deny taking any performance-enhancing drugs,” read a statement from solicitor Lewis Power. “However, during the last five weeks, leaks about these charges have appeared in the press and both boxers have been the targets of continual abusive language on Twitter.”
UK Anti-Doping bosses, meanwhile, have demanded to know the reason why Armitstead was successful in her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), having been suspended on 11 July pending disciplinary action.
Had Armitstead’s appeal been dismissed she would have been barred from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which start on Friday.
Armitstead successfully argued the first of the missed tests should be declared void, although UK Anti-Doping maintain she did not challenge the validity of either of the first two at the time.
“We are awaiting the Reasoned Decision from the CAS panel as to why the first whereabouts failure was not upheld,” said UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead.
“I’d like to think that we are a reasonable organisation and we don’t bring cases against athletes unless we see reason for doing so.”