October 05, 2016
LOS ANGELES – JAMS announced that Jeffrey G. Benz, Esq., an experienced sports and entertainment neutral, served on an appeal panel under the Court of Arbitration for Sport panel that ruled in an arbitration related to tennis star Maria Sharapova. The Panel reduced her two-year ban for doping offenses to 15 months; her period of ineligibility now ends on April 25, 2017.
The CAS panel accepted that Sharapova’s use of meldonium, a substance banned by the International Tennis Federation early in 2016, fell below the “significant fault” threshold required by the ITF for a two-year ban.
The CAS panel agreed with Sharapova that “significant changes” to the prohibited list should be highlighted, and that “no specific warning” had been issued regarding meldonium.
It also concluded that Sharapova’s decision to rely on her agent to deal with all anti-doping related matters had been reasonable, but that she assumed “some degree of fault” for failing to oversee him.
Finally, the panel said that Sharapova’s case “was not about an athlete who cheated,” and that under no circumstances was she an “intentional doper.”
Founded in 1979, JAMS is the largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services worldwide. With Resolution Centers nationwide and abroad, JAMS and its nearly 350 exclusive neutrals are responsible for resolving thousands of the world’s important cases. JAMS may be reached at 800-352-5267.