There were many questions that have come out of the Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict of the case brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency against China’s triple Olympic champion swimmer Sun Yang and Fina, the sport’s governing body. These involve the length of Sun’s eight-year ban, what exactly happened that night and why Sun’s team thought he should refuse permission after already granting it. They also included the actions of the doping control team and the training they had received, and what treatment they had been subject to after the September 2018 night where Sun’s team smashed the protective casing of the blood vials and kept the samples. All of them were answered, to some degree, in the 78-page report published by CAS on their website. One was not and that was the biggest of them all is can Sun Yang come back from this? The official newspaper of China Supreme People's Procuratorate published an op-ed written by He Jiahong, a member of Independent Ethics Committee of FIFA 'one has to accept consequences for trampling on regulations' on Sun Yang. He seems to have lost support from the authority. pic.twitter.com/yUrgCh6t0H — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) March 9, 2020 The answer depends on what a comeback entails. For example, Sun may lose his remaining sponsors but that is not a concern as he never adorned too many billboards in China. As for swimming, is widely believed that the 28-year-old’s impending appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal to get the CAS verdict overturned will be unsuccessful, but that is not necessarily the end. It should be remembered among all of this that Sun has never been found guilty of a doping offence during this hearing or the hundreds of in and out of competition tests that he was subject to since his ban in 2014 The very CAS report that explained why they were banning him for eight years also raised the possibility of clemency for the star swimmer. They pointed to a new Wada code coming on January 1 next year and appealing to Fina for clemency. Even if this were to be granted then Sun still misses the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – that is if they go ahead as scheduled this summer – but he could return to action early next year. If that were to be the case then a career that looked to be over in the face of an eight-year ban becomes one that was merely derailed by 11 months out, and a chance to add to his records and medals. Clemency would bring more scrutiny on Fina, a governing body that has long been questioned when it comes to Sun. Some have already called for heads to roll at the swimming HQ after they found in favour of Sun in their own inquiry to the September 2018 test at his home and later supported his attempts to derail the CAS hearing. Another possible path back to the pool is to come clean, as is the argument of Travis Tygart, who wants him to reveal “swimming’s darkest secrets”. Sun Yang’s doping ban ends swimming career defined by tears, taunts and tantrums The boss of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) urged the Chinese swimmer to do just that when he spoke to Australia’s Daily Telegraph just after the original CAS verdict. “I would say his best opportunity to get a reduction on the eight years is not some appeal to the Swiss [Federal] Tribunal but to come clean with everything he knows,” Tygart said. “If I was advising Sun Yang at this point, what I would say is sit down and come clean about the things his mum recently about Fina and CHINADA (the China Anti-Doping Agency) because all that is information would be extremely valuable in our process.” he added. Chinese superstar pays price for witness intimidation and media leaks detailed in damning CAS report Sun’s mother was chief among the inquisitors in a social media post that asked why the Chinese Swimming Association, CHINADA and Fina were so willing to give a backdated three-month ban. The implication that there was a cover up was swiftly deleted but not before it had been widely leaked. His three-month May suspension was only announced long after it had been served and only then in a one paragraph Xinhua report in December 2014. It may not have even been served. The ban allowed Sun to bestow more glory upon the nation at the Asian Games, where he won three golds and a silver. Sun Yang to be ditched by hometown 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games if he fails to overturn eight-year doping violation ban As controversial as that was, the heart medicine trimetazidine that his doctor prescribed him was a new addition to the proscribed list, which was not available in Chinese, and its status was later downgraded when Wada ruled it not performance enhancing. It should be remembered among all of this that Sun has never been found guilty of a doping offence during this hearing or the hundreds of in and out of competition tests that he was subject to since his ban in 2014. The CAS report backed that up as they did not question his results. None of this is black and white but his character was not on trial, although the CAS report did bring it up. Nevertheless media and social media has seen a sea change in popular opinion. Sun Yang coach Denis Cotterell drops swimmer after CAS ban over doping test The most notable of those last week was an op-ed in the official newspaper of China Supreme People's Procuratorate, essentially the Justice Department’s media outlet. In that piece the esteemed He Jiahong, a member of Fifa’s Independent Ethics Committee, indicated that Sun had now fallen foul of officials. “One has to accept consequences for trampling on regulations,” He wrote. This has got to the point where you wonder if anyone but the die hard Sun fans – and they do still exist – can ever support the swimmer even if he returns to the pool. One thing is for sure, the swimmer will be unwilling accept that the sun has set on his career.