The suspension of Ophélie Claude-Boxberger finally extended to four years by the Council of State

Tested positive at EPO in September 2019, Ophélie Claude-Boxberger saw her suspension extended to four years by the Council of State on Tuesday. This is two years longer than what the AFLD Sanctions Committee had decided.

The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) had demanded an eight-year suspension and appealed to the Council of State against the decision of the Sanctions Commission, an independent body, to impose a two-year sanction on the against the sport.

The offense of falsification not retained

This four-year sanction had been requested by the public rapporteur. The latter had estimated at the hearing that the “special circumstances” raised by the athlete’s defense did not allow the suspension to be reduced. On the other hand, he did not retain the supposed offense of falsification. Indeed, in addition to taking EPO, the AFLD demanded that the athlete also be sanctioned for having falsified elements of the doping control, in particular by influencing the testimony of his ex-coach and ex-father-in-law, Alain Flacus.

He was initially accused of having injected EPO into the athlete during a massage before going back on his confession. The AFLD believed that this witness had been manipulated by the athlete, and had also lied about his geolocation in the days preceding his control.

The AFLD sanctions commission, an independent body, had not followed it on this path, and had been sensitive to the arguments of the defense of Ophélie Claude-Boxberger. In September 2021, Alain Flaccus, prosecuted by Ophélie Claude-Boxberger for “poisoning”, had been acquitted by the court of Montbéliard (Doubs).

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