Capobianco banned for taking steroids17 March 1997
An IAAF arbitration panel has found Capobianco guilty of taking anabolic steroids. IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai said that the reinstatement of Capobianco last July following a report for Athletics Australia by Robert Ellicott, QC, was a mistake. That inquiry cleared Capobianco on a technicality to run in the Olympic Games.
Australian sprinter Dean Capobianco has indicated he'll try to challenge in the civil courts the decision which bans him from international competition until the Year 2000.
He had returned a positive test for the banned steroid stanozolol after an athletics meeting in Holland last May.
Capobianco's legal team is claiming there have been a number of faults in the way evidence of his alleged drug-taking has been collected and handled. According to participants at Saturday's closed hearing, Dr Schaenzer, the director of the Cologne laboratory responsible for the testing of Capobianco's samples, had to withdraw part of his evidence. He was then thought to have telephoned colleagues to ascertain the course of events surrounding the custody of the samples.
Capobianco's team in Monte Carlo has also called on experts to give evidence that it was possible for a person to test positive to steroids if they had recently eaten meat contaminated with the chemicals.
Acting AA chief Geoff Rowe said the national body would endorse the IAAF's decision and any ban if Capobianco were found guilty. "We are bound by IAAF rules, we are bound to support our athlete and we are bound to provide a fair field of competition for all other athletes, it is a difficult situation," Rowe said. "But we want to make sure Capo gets a fair and proper hearing."
Even if the case goes against Capobianco, the 26-year-old's career may not be permanently crippled. There have been moves overseas to reduce the compulsory four-year ban to two years to prevent costly litigation involving the IAAF and national federations following successful legal challenges by banned athletes.