FIS reduces doping-related lifetime ban for Walter Mayer of Austria

FIS reduces doping-related lifetime ban for Walter Mayer of Austria{mosimage}The International Ski Federation announced Sunday it has reduced the lifetime ban it handed Austrian cross country ski coach Walter Mayer following a doping scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to 10 years.

“Mr. Walter Mayer is declared ineligible for participation in and accreditation for all FIS international ski events for the duration of 10 years,” said a statement released following a FIS Council meeting on the case.

The federation had banned Mayer for life after the discovery of blood doping paraphernalia in a house occupied by Austrian skiers at Salt Lake City.

“This recent decision was taken based on the new anti-doping code,” explained FIS Secretary-General Sarah Lewis, who was attending the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Bormio.

Mayer sought and won a court injunction that allows him to continue coaching until May 2005 after the Austrian team provided evidence showing the blood treatment had no performance-enhancing effects and there were no positive doping tests.

FIS is appealing the ruling but the standing provisory order grants Mayer access and accreditation to all international ski events, including the Nordic World Championships in Oberstdorf.

Mayer was reinstated as Austrian head coach in April 2004.

“Since this provisory order remains valid pending a final decision of the Court on the merits, or until the expiry of the provisory order, the above decision of Council will come into effect thereafter,” FIS said.

Mayer was reinstated as Austrian head coach in April 2004. He will be

The Austrian News Agency APA quoted Mayer as saying he was innocent.

“In reality, I ought not be banned at all, because nothing has been proved against me,” he was quoted as saying.

The president of the Austrian Ski Federation, Peter Schroecksnadel, argued that the reduction of the ban indicated that FIS was wrong in banning Mayer.

-The Associated Press

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