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British MP says David Brailsford should be suspended following Freeman verdict

A British MP believes Sir David Brailsford should be suspended following the Freeman verdict; Ineos Grenadiers pushes back the opinion.

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Ineos Grenadiers boss Sir David Brailsford should be suspended following the investigation into former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, who on Friday accepted 18 charges from a medical tribunal.

That’s the opinion of Clive Efford, a Member of Parliament and a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee. Efford told The Telegraph that Brailsford and other team officials who were operating alongside Freeman should be suspended.

“Until this is cleared up, all those involved shouldn’t be anywhere near the sport,” Efford told The Telegraph. “Clearly, there are questions to be answered and people should be suspended while this is properly investigated.”

The comments come after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPTS) found Dr. Freeman guilty of ordering testosterone in 2011 for the benefit of the performance enhancement of an unknown rider. At the time Freeman worked for Team Sky and British Cycling.

Effort said that the findings should have repercussions on Brailsford and other officials who were involved in the team from that era.

“Dave Brailsford gave reassurances about how clean his teams were and unless he was in full control of what was going on, he couldn’t make those assurances,” Efford continued. “We have to question, if he didn’t know, why didn’t he? And if it was possible for this to happen, how could he have given assurances that his team was clean?”

Friday’s decision ends a years-long investigation into Dr. Freeman and Team Sky that stemmed from the 2016 release of TUE information following the hack of British Cycling by a Russian group. Dr. Freeman was accused of ordering testosterone to the headquarters of GB Cycling at the national velodrome in 2011 and “knowing or believing” it was intended to be used to boost an athlete’s performance.

Dr. Freeman admitted to 18 of the 22 charges against him, which included ordering the 30 doses of Testogel to the velodrome in 2011 and also lying to cover up an initial investigation by UK Anti-Doping. In 2020 Dr. Freeman also admitted to having destroyed a laptop that may have contained medical data crucial to the investigation.

One of the secondary figures of the investigation was former GB and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton, who was the team’s performance director at the time when Dr. Freeman ordered the testosterone. Dr. Freeman originally claimed he was bullied into ordering the testosterone by Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction — something Sutton vehemently denied publicly.

On Friday Sutton released his own statement to The Daily Mail, saying that neither he nor Brailsford had knowledge of Dr. Freeman ordering the testosterone.

“I’d like to stress that neither I nor Sir Dave Brailsford knew about the testosterone order. But I think it’s important to find out who the doctor ordered it for. Hopefully, that will emerge from the investigation by UK Anti-Doping,” Sutton said.

“I feel for the doctor; that he ever got into this situation, and I remain disappointed that I was used as a scapegoat. It has caused great pain to both me and my family. But it also saddens me that this episode has cast a huge shadow over the success we enjoyed, both at Team Sky and British Cycling.”

On Friday Team Ineos Grenadiers released a statement that pushed back on sentiments that Brailsford or anyone involved with the team should be sanctioned.

‘The Team fully supports the work of the GMC and it is very clear from their report that Richard Freeman fell short of the ethical standards required of him as a doctor and acted dishonestly,” the statement said. “However the Team does not believe that any athlete ever used or sought to use Testogel or any other performance-enhancing substance. No evidence has been provided that this ever happened or that there has been any wrongdoing by any athlete at any point. We will continue to give our full support and co-operation to UKAD, as we have done throughout this process, as they continue to investigate his conduct.”