Yachting: Sailing body clears Daubney on drug charges

New Zealand yachtsman Simon Daubney has been cleared of a drug-taking allegation, the British-based International Yachting Federation (ISAF) has announced.

ISAF said the disciplinary chamber for doping cases of the Swiss Olympic Association had ruled that Daubney, a member of the Alinghi team in the last America's Cup, had "not infringed the anti-doping rules and that the chamber has withdrawn any sanctions".

"ISAF has today lifted Simon Daubney's provisional suspension," the ISAF said on its website.

The sailor arrived home with his wife and children last year after quitting the Swiss America's Cup-winning team, Alinghi, following a positive drugs test which revealed the presence of two metabolites of cocaine (benzoilecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester) but not cocaine itself.

Daubney, 48, and his Scottish wife and children flew into Auckland and moved into a $2.4 million home at Milford on Auckland's North Shore. A near neighbour of the luxurious two-storey stucco Italian-style villa was a former rival - 2007 Oracle skipper Chris Dickson.

Daubney was the first sailor in America's Cup history to fail a drug test and appeared before an America's Cup jury in London after two tests carried out on June 23, day one of America's Cup sailing last year, and returned positive results for metabolites of cocaine.

The jury was satisfied that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred.

The veteran sailor was part of the tight five who, with Russell Coutts, defected to Alinghi after being part of the winning Team New Zealand in 2000.

On September 27, Daubney said on the Alinghi website: "I have never knowingly taken a banned substance, however until this matter is completely resolved I have resigned from Alinghi so that they can go about their business without distraction. I hope to return to the team once my name is cleared."

He has claimed that ill feeling toward him since he left Team New Zealand may have made him a victim of a drinks spiking incident.

Character witnesses for Daubney during his London hearing included fellow New Zealand sailors Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth, who were also criticised after they left Team New Zealand in 2000 and signed with the Swiss syndicate headed by Ernesto Bertarelli.

- NZPA

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