FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Highest sporting court denies appeal of Hans Knauss in doping suspension

Highest sporting court denies appeal of Hans Knauss in doping suspension{mosimage}The highest court in the sporting world has dismissed the appeal of Hans Knauss, the Austrian banned from alpine skiing for a doping offense.

Knauss was seeking a reduction in the length of his 18-month suspension. The Court of Arbitration for Sport made the announcement on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Court said its three-person panel had decided that the circumstances of the case were “sufficient to reduce the customary two-year ban, which is normally applied for a first doping offence, but that such reduction could not exceed 6 months.”

Knauss, who tested positive for byproducts of nandrolone, a steroid, on November 27, 2004, will remain ineligible until May 26, 2006.

Both CAS and the FIS have acknowledged that Knauss probably ingested the substance in tainted dietary supplements.

“The [CAS] panel found however that whilst the Athlete did not act intentionally, he clearly acted negligently,” said a FIS statement, released on Thursday. “In particular given the known risk in connection with nutritional supplements, the Athlete did not exercise adequate caution by deliberately choosing to use supplements different from the ones recommended by his Association.”

In the emerging jurisprudence of sports law, athletes are responsible for whatever makes its way into their blood, whether they are aware of it or not.

A popular and accomplished skier, Knauss made his initial positive test public in an extraordinary news conference at Val Gardena last December.

After secondary tests confirmed the result, the International Ski Federation banned Knauss for 18 months (beginning on the date of the positive test).

Knauss will remain suspended from competition until May 26, 2006. Had the court upheld his appeal, he would have been eligible for competition in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

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