Huge accusations in the Ralepelle doping saga
SPOTLIGHT: Former Springboks captain Mahlatse Ralepelle has indicated that his appeal on his eight-year ban for substance abuse is based on ‘multiple inaccuracies’ during the testing process.
Ralepelle, affectionately known as Chiliboy, was banned by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport in July after testing positive for the banned anabolic substance Zeranol at an out-of-competition test on January 17 last year.
Following the ban, his lawyer, Hendrik Hugo of ENS Africa, told @rugby365com there are “many grounds” of appeal.
He explained that there were two ‘findings’ – the first was on the merits of the case and the second was on the sanction.
“In our view, from a legal perspective, there are many grounds of appeal,” Hugo said, adding that as ‘creatures of instruction’ they will work on the instruction of Ralepelle and what he wants to do.
In the latest development, Ralepelle’s camp released a statement on Friday, stating the former Sharks hooker will take on the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDs) in what is set to be a clash of wills and legal strategy.
The statement read: “Ralepelle denies ever taking the banned substance and believes there has been a concerted effort to discredit him and portray him as a repeat offender despite evidence to the contrary.
“Chiliboy’s legal team will argue that there were multiple inaccuracies in SAIDs findings and challenge procedural failures by the sporting body, entrusted to ensure fairness in the much-loved sport.”
The statement added: “This is not the first time that Chiliboy has been falsely accused of taking a banned substance, in 2010 Chiliboy and Bjorn Basson both returned positive samples for a banned stimulant following a Test against Ireland. The decision has later ruled a No-Fault decision after it was revealed that the coaching staff provided the supplement to the entire squad during the tour. SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux later publicly apologised to the Chiliboy following the ordeal.
“The #BlackLivesMatter movement has propelled the world to have honest conversations around systematic injustices & policies, affecting the black community; and the South African sports fraternity is no exception to this conversation.”
Commenting on the proceedings, Ralepelle said: “The last few months have been an absolute nightmare for my family and me, but I refuse to be the fall guy for a corrupt system, one utterly determined to destroy lives and livelihoods of athletes of colour. ”
“I have dedicated my life to this sport, and should this be the end, then so be it, but if they expect me to just go off quietly into the night, then they have another thing coming. I won’t stop until my name is cleared. I do believe that we, as black rugby players, are held to a different standard. Racial inequalities continue to persist in the sport, and I, for one, will continue to fight, so that future generations of the sport, don’t have to.”