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ICC clears doping charges against Kusal Perera

ICC clears doping charges against Kusal Perera
Kusal Perera is free to resume his cricketing career after the ICC lifted the provisional ban.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday lifted the provisional suspension on Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Perera after clearing the doping charges against him.

In December 2015, Perera was tested positive for a banned substance and was subsequently withdrawn from the tour of New Zealand after the ICC suspended him provisionally.

Perera’s legal team appealed against the decision and submitted a letter stating that “the Qatar laboratory might have misidentified impurities in the samples as 19-Norandrostenedione, given the very low concentrations of that substance found in the samples.”

In a statement, the ICC said that they commissioned an independent expert review to analyse the findings of the Qatar laboratory.

The ICC further stated that the laboratory had correctly identified the banned substance in the samples but the expert viewed that there was a chance that the substance may have been produced naturally in the player’s body.

“In response, the ICC commissioned an independent expert to review all of the Qatar laboratory’s findings,” said the ICC statement.

“Whilst the independent expert concluded that the Qatar laboratory had correctly identified 19-Norandrostenedione in the samples, that expert's view was that an adverse analytical finding by the laboratory was not sustainable, because, for various scientific and technical reasons, it could not be ruled out that the 19-Norandrostenedione was produced naturally in the player's body and/or formed in the samples after the player provided them.

“These concerns were immediately presented by the ICC to the Qatar laboratory, which has today confirmed that it has withdrawn the Adverse Analytical Finding and is instead reporting an Atypical Finding.

“It has advised that no specific further investigation of the player's two samples is warranted, but has recommended the monitoring of the player's steroid profile moving forward.”

As a result of this development, the suspension handed to Perera has been lifted by the ICC and the 25-year-old is now clear to resume playing international cricket with immediate effect.

“As a result, the ICC has immediately withdrawn the disciplinary proceedings previously brought against Mr Perera, and he is therefore free to train and compete domestically and internationally again without restriction with immediate effect.”

The chief executive of the ICC, David Richardson has regretted the ordeal caused to Perera and praised him for the way in which he dealt with the proceedings.

“Had it not been for the diligence of Mr Perera’s legal team and the ICC’s own desire to uncover the explanation for the reported findings, the consequences could well have been different, and that should be of concern to all involved in the fight against doping.

“We regret what Mr Perera has had to endure, and would like to commend him for the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout this period.

“We wish to make it clear that there is no evidence that Mr Perera has ever used performance-enhancing substances and we wish him well in his future cricketing endeavours.”

Furthermore, Richardson has confirmed that the ICC has demanded an urgent explanation from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the laboratory in Qatar.

“Whilst I am confident that this is an isolated incident in respect of tests commissioned by the ICC, we are seeking an urgent explanation from WADA and the laboratory in an attempt to understand what has transpired and what will be done to ensure it does not happen again.

“We will also immediately review our own internal processes to see whether there might be additional steps over and above those required by WADA that the ICC could put in place in order to give international cricketers further comfort.”

During the period of his suspension, Perera missed the bilateral Twenty20 contest against India, the 2016 Asia Cup and the ICC World T20 apart from the tour of New Zealand.

© Cricket World 2016