Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman is likely to face anti-doping charges before the conclusion of his medical misconduct hearing, according to reports.
Dr Freeman is currently fighting claims from the General Medical Council (GMC) that he ordered testosterone to the British Cycling headquarters in 2011, while “knowing or believing” it was to be used to enhance an athlete’s performance.
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The medical misconduct hearing, held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), has been marred by setbacks and delays and is now not expected to be concluded until October 2020.
According to The Times newspaper, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) had planned to delay any anti-doping charges against Freeman until after the tribunal had concluded, but is now considering bringing proceedings forward because of delays in the hearing.
UKAD has reportedly received legal guidance that any charges must be brought by May 2021, when the statute of limitations expires.
Freeman has admitted 19 of the 22 GMC charges, but denies that the 30 testosterone sachets were ordered for an athlete to dope.
The hearing got underway in October, but the process has been marred by delays and legal arguments, with the tribunal announcing in December that proceedings would be put on hold until April 28, 2020 because Dr Freeman is unwell.
According to the tribunal, the hearing will reconvene on Tuesday April 28 next year and run until Friday, May 29, before restarting once again on Monday, October 5 until Friday, October 16 2020.
The process had already been delayed from February, with Dr Freeman admitting most of the charges against him as soon as the hearing got under way in October.
The tribunal has been unable to get to the bottom of the testosterone delivery, as Freeman claimed he was bullied into making the order for Shane Sutton to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies any knowledge of the order.
UKAD declined to comment to The Times, but the newspaper reports that any charges are unlikely to be issued before Freeman gives evidence at the tribunal.