World body issues warning to Russia

Updated: June 3, 2010, 1:51 PM ET
Associated Press

ANTALYA, Turkey -- The International Ski Federation warned Russia on Thursday to clean up its act on doping or risk having its athletes barred from the 2014 Winter Olympics on home soil in Sochi.

FIS also fined the Russian Ski Association $156,000 and ordered some Russian coaches to be fired because of persistent doping by its athletes before the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The governing body issued a "strong recommendation" that Russia install new leaders and coaches who were not involved in "multiple" doping cases in recent seasons, notably in cross-country skiing.

A fresh start would help "in view of building up a new team for Sochi 2014 that rejects doping," FIS said in a statement.

The FIS ruling council gave Russian officials a Nov. 1 deadline to improve its anti-doping program or face further penalties.

The toughest possible sanction would be to "suspend that national ski association's membership for a period of up to four years," FIS said in a statement.

Suspending membership would prevent Russia's athletes from competing in FIS competitions, including the Winter Olympics, and bar officials from taking part in FIS meetings and decision-making. Russia also would not be allowed to host World Cup races.

Under FIS rules, a four-year suspension is allowed if eight anti-doping violations are committed in a 12-month period by athletes or others affiliated with a national association.

The Russian association did not respond to calls at its headquarters Thursday.

FIS said Russian skiers failed a "high number" of drug tests and criticized the federation's "lack of adherence" to anti-doping rules.

It ordered cross-country coach Anatoly Chepalov, who worked with Sergey Shiryaev and Julia Chepalova, to be removed from any position of authority or influence on athletes.

Coaches and medical advisers to three other skiers caught using the banned blood-booster EPO -- Evgeni Dementiev, Natalia Matveeva and Nina Rysina -- should be "removed indefinitely" from their jobs, FIS said.

The fine imposed Thursday amounts to half the funding Russia's federation was entitled to get from FIS in 2009. The remaining half could be taken away in November if Russia does not make progress, FIS said.

The governing body said Russian officials had expressed "sincerest remorse for the situation" and had begun working to improve the anti-doping program.

Russia's poor doping record prompted International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge to raise the matter with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year.

"We have alerted the Russian authorities, and we expect them to comply," Rogge said in Vancouver in February.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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