On 30 November 2006, Oussama Mellouli took part in a swimming event in Indianapolis/USA. During this event, he underwent a doping control which revealed the presence of amphetamines. After having learned the result of the analysis of the "A" sample, the swimmer admitted that he had taken an Adderall pill two days earlier to prevent him from falling asleep so that he could finish writing a report which counted towards his final university diploma. Oussama Mellouli did not ask for the analysis of the "B" sample. The Disciplinary Commission of the FTN met on 8 March 2007. It concluded that the swimmer had not taken the substance with the intention of enhancing his swimming performance and sanctioned him with a reprimand and a warning.
On 30 March 2007, the FINA filed an appeal with the CAS requesting that a two-year suspension be imposed on the swimmer and that his results obtained since 30 November 2006 be annulled. In the meantime, Oussama Mellouli took part in the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne where he won the gold medal in the 800m freestyle event and a silver medal on 400m freestyle event.
This case was submitted to a CAS Panel composed of three arbitrators : Mr Bernard Foucher, Paris/France (President), Mr Olivier Carrard, Geneva/Switzerland, Mr Michele Bernasconi, Zurich/Switzerland. The parties and their representatives were heard by the Panel at a hearing held in Lausanne on 18 July 2007.
The CAS Panel noted first that both the FINA and the FTN had admitted the facts alleged by Oussama Mellouli who could accurately establish the cause of his positive doping control. The arbitrators were however surprised by the lack of perspicacity of the athlete who has been a top level international swimmer for many years and who cannot ignore the risks of doping connected with the use of medication. Thus, they have found that the negligence committed by Oussama Mellouli was significant in the light of art. DC 10.5.2. of the FINA Anti-Doping Rules. However, the Panel has considered that, if the swimmer was indeed guilty of negligence, such negligence was not sufficiently serious to suspend him for two years, which would have meant an automatic ban from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Panel has decided that an 18-month suspension was proportionate to the negligence committed, to which shall be added the loss of the results obtained since 30 November 2006, including those obtained at the 2007 Swimming World Championships in Melbourne.
The full text of the CAS award is published on the French part of the Court Of Arbitration For Sport website (section "jurisprudence").