An Intellectual Property team from Fieldfisher's Brussels office, led by Partner Stijn Debaene, has successfully challenged the Belgian Cycling Federation's decision not to register Fieldfisher client Tom Meeusen for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, which begins on 31 January in Tabor in the Czech Republic.
Tom Meeusen has been involved in a doping-related investigation against a doctor whom he consulted in 2012. Dr Chris Mertens is suspected of providing ozone therapy to 19 athletes, an alternative treatment designed to increase the amount of oxygen to the body. The Belgian Cycling Federation took the decision on 19 January not to register the cyclist on the basis of Article 9.2.002 of the International Cycling Union rules. The Article states that a rider against whom an investigation was opened in relation to a breach of anti-doping rules will not be eligible for the World Championships until their definitive acquittal.
The Fieldfisher team was instructed and brought the case before the Belgian Arbitration Court for Sports to challenge the applicability of this Article. There was an emergency hearing at 8pm yesterday and its decision, taken at 2am this morning, secured a great result for the client. The Court ruled that the Article was not applicable and obliged the Belgian Cycling Federation to register Tom Meeusen for the World Championships in time for the deadline at noon today. The Federation has since announced that it will comply with the arbitral sentence.
The rest of the Fieldfisher team comprised partner Hakim Haouideg, associate Matthias Machtelinckx, and assistant Pieter Van de Ponseele.
Stijn Debaene commented: "We were naturally delighted to achieve such a positive result for our client, whose decision to instruct us on such an important and time-sensitive matter pays testament to Fieldfisher's expertise in sports law. We would like to wish Tom Meeusen the very best of luck both in this year's Cyclo-cross World Championships and the rest of his career."