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Austrian Ski Federation's legal expert criticizes Olympics ban for athletes

Austrian Ski Federation's legal expert criticizes Olympics ban for athletes

The Austrian Ski Federation's legal expert has criticized the decision to ban six Austrian athletes from the Olympics for life following the doping scandal at the Turin Winter Games.
Last week, the cross-country skiers and biathletes received the lifetime bans for involvement in an organized blood-doping scheme _ the harshest sanctions given to athletes by the IOC.
Karl Heinz Klee said the athletes "never committed a doping offense," and that even if it was proven, the World Anti-Doping Agency's anti-doping code calls only for a two-year ban for first-time offenders.
"If a doping offense by one of the now convicted athletes could actually be proven _ the Austrian Ski Federation has so far no documents to that effect _ a two-year ban would be the highest possible punishment," Klee said on the federation's Web site.
The IOC said it found the athletes guilty of possessing prohibited substances and taking part in a doping conspiracy at the 2006 Turin Games, based on materials seized by Italian police during a raid on the athletes' living quarters.
The athletes are cross-country skiers Martin Tauber, Juergen Pinter, Johannes Eder and Roland Diethart, and biathletes Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann.
All are now ineligible for accreditation in any capacity at the Olympics.
Klee argues the bans were imposed by a panel that never saw or heard testimony from the athletes.
The IOC invited athletes and team officials to hearings earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland, but no one came. Those invited were allowed to send written statements instead of appearing in person.


Updated : 2021-02-28 06:14 GMT+08:00