Russian rowing federation officials get 1-year ban for spate of team doping offenses
29 January 2008
LAUSANNE – Officials of the Russian rowing federation received a one-year ban after seven of the country’s rowers committed doping violations in a 12-month period.
The penalty, announced Tuesday by the International Rowing Federation, bars all administrators, coaches and medical personnel of the Russian body from attending any FISA competitions or meetings.
FISA said it was in discussions with the IOC and Russian national Olympic committee to determine how or if to apply the ban at this summer’s Beijing Games.
The penalty does not apply to Russian rowers who are clear of any doping ban. They remain eligible to compete in the Olympics and FISA events.
The team officials, however, will receive no invitations for visas to FISA events and no accreditations, and will not be allowed to take part in the FISA congress.
In addition, the Russian body was fined 75,000 Swiss francs. The Russians were also ordered to reimburse FISA for all costs related to the doping cases and hearings, a figure estimated at about 50,000 Swiss francs.
Lyudmila Saraeva, an official with the Russian Rowing Federation, said the ban was “very harsh, too harsh” and would end up penalizing the athletes. She said no decision had been taken on whether to appeal.
“I think this is very harsh, too harsh,” Saraeva said in Moscow. “The youth team won’t be able to get around without the coaches. They (the international federation) have deliberately closed the road for our participating in the competitions. Negotiations are now ongoing with the National Olympic Committee. They’re punishing officials but the decision isn’t in the interests of the athletes.”
FISA rules stipulate that national federations are liable to heavy sanctions if seven of their athletes commit doping offenses during a 12-month period.
Olga Samulenkova tested positive in July 2006 and was stripped of golds medals from the world championships and received a two-year ban.
The discovery of intravenous infusion materials outside a hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland, in July 2007 led to two-year bans for six other rowers: Vladimir Varfolomeev, Denis Moiseev, Svetlana Fedorova, Alexander Litvintchev, Evgeny Luzyanin and Ivan Podshivalov.
FISA accused the Russian federation of “a lack of cooperation,” “refusal to accept responsibility,” and “provision of contradictory, inconsistent and deceptive explanations.”
[Copyright ap 2008]