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Mystery, Vagueness And Non-Transparency Draws Questions About ‘Success’ Of UKAD/BBBofC Appeal Against Conor Benn

Mystery, Vagueness And Non-transparency Draws Questions About 'Success' Of UKAD-BBBofC Appeal Against Conor Benn featured image
NADP's decision to lift the suspension imposed on Conor Benn by UKAD and BBBofC last year was apparently appealed successfully by both organizations, yet neither organization has revealed whether Benn will be suspended or banned from boxing. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

The appeal by UKAD and BBBofC against the lifting of the suspension by NADP on Conor Benn has apparently been successful, yet neither of the two organizations has revealed whether Benn will be suspended, banned or neither. The appeal was launched more than half a year ago by both organizations following the NADP’s decision to clear Benn of intentional doping, and was supposed to reach a conclusion last month. However, thus far, there are no specific details surrounding the repercussions of this appeal, which threatens to make the entire case pointless given Benn has not been confirmed to be suspended.

Further details surrounding the apparent success of this appeal have not been divulged to the public, drawing more question marks as it is still unknown whether Conor Benn (23-0, 13 KO’s) will be suspended. The appeal was prompted after the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADP) cleared Benn of intentional wrongdoing in regards to potential steroid use; a decision that seemed contentious at best given Benn had not cooperated with either UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) or the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) who had managed to see Conor Benn suspended for failing two drug tests.

The NADP’s decision overturned the suspension placed on Benn, but it was far from a clear-cut case of Conor Benn being cleared given the NADP, an independent anti-doping organization in the UK, was far from transparent and never fully revealed what exactly they based their decision on. With no verifiable reports indicating they had done thorough research to come to their decision, their exoneration of Conor Benn’s alleged steroid use/abuse did not carry the same weight without the backing of the BBBofC and UKAD.

Virtually nothing has been answered at this point, with the appeal already having been longwinded given it started in August, and only handled in court as of February this year. The nature of this appeal itself was largely kept hidden from the public, such as the specific date the appeal would be officially addressed, and the results have also not yet been revealed.

Moreover, the only information even suggesting when the appeal would take place came through Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn, Benn’s promoter, who revealed early in February that the appeal by the BBBofC and UKAD was said to be handled later that same month.

Not only is it still unclear when exactly this date occurred, the results have been known since last month but only revealed this week; and disturbingly enough, not by either BBBofC or UKAD. UK media outlets such as the Daily Mail suggested the appeal had met its success by the two organizations, but there has yet to be any information on whether this means Benn will be suspended again―or otherwise the exact implications that will follow from this apparent successful appeal.

Notably, Conor Benn does not currently hold a British boxing license after having relinquished it in 2022 following a dispute with BBBofC surrounding his failed drug tests for the banned substance of clompihene, meaning that the British governing body can not suspend Benn as he’s not licensed with them.

UKAD appears to have more power in this regard, having already suspended Benn last year, and will be able to do the same due to their jurisdiction pertaining to British fighters, regardless of where they are licensed as a professional boxer. As the failed drug tests were discovered in the UK, there is further indication that there are no issues regarding a potential suspension or ban being imposed on Benn.

However, the lack of any valid report regarding what will happen now, roughly a month after the appeal met its success, makes it doubtful that there will be any repercussions against Conor Benn. The information provision by both organizations regarding this case has been lacking, overall making for what is still a confusing, non-transparent and suspicious case that was steeped in more secrecy than needed.

As of now, there is as much chance of Benn being suspended as there is not, but the Daily Mail has suggested this case may be heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport; an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sports through arbitration and mediation.

Purportedly, both the BBBofC and UKAD have remained silent on this matter when confronted by the Daily Mail, which further drives home the point of their non-transparency and secrecy muddying up a case for no apparent reason. Genuine concerns have now arisen regarding the two organizations’ capability to matters related to anti-doping and disciplinary actions in sports.

The lack of transparency is also highly concerning, with the failure by both organizations to divulge information surrounding the status and deadlines of their appeal or decision setting up a potential probing into the fairness of the process; a concern that Benn has highlighted in the past.

The lack of communication surrounding the state of the appeal and any disciplinary proceedings has also helped deteriorate trust in the two organizations―especially considering this appeal had met its success more than a month ago yet no date had ever been specified, and the exact result and process have never been communicated.

Hopefully, there will be more concerted efforts to see both organizations commit to integrity, and thereby allow any dispute within boxing to be handled effectively and transparently so as not to raise any doubts or suspicions regarding future doping violations.