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  • New Blood Doping Scandal, Fahey Speaks Out, Gusmao Troubles


    01/17/08

    New Blood Doping Scandal Set to Explode

    Austrian investigators have launched an inquiry that could ensnare dozens of elite athletes in summer and winter Olympic sports in a major blood doping scandal.

    The inquiry was prompted by a letter written last November to the Austrian government by Richard Pound, then president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. In the letter, Pound raised questions about Vienna laboratory Humanplasma.

    Supposedly, evidence gathered in the investigation of the blood doping scandal involving Austrian athletes at the Turin Olympics included blood storage bags from Humanplasma. Receipts from one of the athletes sanctioned in the scandal are also said to indicate transactions with the firm.

    WADA spokesman Frederic Donze tells Around the Rings that that WADA has raised questions about Humanplasma with Austrian officials, but says the contents of Pound’s letter cannot be divulged.

    "As the independent international organization coordinating and monitoring the global fight against doping in sport, WADA regularly receives valuable information relating to possible doping in sport," Donze says.

    “WADA has a duty to review and pass such information to its stakeholders with proper powers and jurisdiction when relevant. In this case, WADA contacted the Austrian government to ask local authorities to investigate the case. The case being pending, WADA cannot comment further at this stage,” he says.

    IOC vice president Thomas Bach, who heads a disciplinary commission which is handling the aftermath of the Turin blood doping scandal is also interested in what the Austrian government uncovers with its inquiry of Humanplasma.

    "We are only able to investigate, if we have any facts,” he is quoted in German media.

    German TV channel ARD reports that cyclists from Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Russia are clients of Humanplasma. ARD says as many as 30 athletes from cross country skiing and biathlon are also linked to the Vienna lab.

    Austrian newspaper Kurier reports that other sport clients from swimming, athletics and soccer may be involved.

    New WADA President Hammers Major League Baseball

    Just two weeks into his new job as president of the World Anti Doping Agency, Australian John Fahey’s first public comments are a blast at Major League Baseball and its failure to control doping.

    Fahey issued a statement this week following the appearances of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players Association chief Donald Fehr at a hearing of the U.S. Congress to discuss the findings of Senator George Mitchell on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

    Fahey said that "professional baseball’s response to Sen. Mitchell’s report is baffling".

    “To suggest that it might continue to keep its anti-doping testing program in-house, after 18-months of investigation led by one of the most respected individuals in modern public affairs who, in the final analysis, concluded that the league’s anti-doping testing program needs to be managed in its entirety by an independent third party, is demeaning to Sen. Mitchell and the Congressional Committees who view doping as a serious threat to public health.”

    Fahey also said the MLB commissioner showed a “blatant disregard for the truth” in his comments this week then Selig told the hearing that there was no reliable test for Human Growth Hormone.

    Fahey’s full statement can be seen at this link.

    Guzmao Could Face Criminal Charges

    Brazilian swimmer Rebeca Gusmao may face
    Rebeca Gusmao could face a year in jail if found guilty of false impersonation. (Getty Imgaes)  
    fraud charges in her doping case. Gusmao, considered to be one of Brazil’s best chances for a medal in Beijing, was found to have someone else’s DNA in her urine test taken before the Pan Am Games.

    The lead attorney for the Rio de Janeiro Department of Public Health has said he wants to try Gusmao for fraud. She denies any wrongdoing, but has been stripped of the medals she won at the Pan Am Games.

    ...Briefs

    ...The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear the appeal of cyclist Floyd Landis on March 19. He is seeking to overturn a two year ban resulting from a positive drug test from the 2006 Tour de France.

    ...American
    Justine Henin made it clear she thinks testing postive for drugs should warrant an immediate suspension. (Getty Images)  
    Sprinter Justin Gatlin has hired lawyer Maurice Suh for his appeal of a four year ban from competition for a positive test. Suh is known for serving as the lead attorney for Floyd Landis.

    ...Former Greco Roman world champion Joe Warren of the U.S. is barred from the Beijing Olympics after arbitrators let stand a two year suspension for THC through 2009. A second positive test for THC last June, a year after his first infraction, sealed his fate.

    ...World champion weightlifter Valeriu Calancea of Romania was suspended from competition for two years after testing positive methandienone at last year’s world championships. Calancea said “I know I am innocent”.

    ...The National Assembly of Bahrain approved the UNESCO Anti Doping Convention on Jan 15.
    .
    ..Belgian tennis star Justine Hennin said she agrees with the anti doping efforts of the Women’s Tennis Association to immediately ban players who test positive for performance enhancing drugs. “I think as soon as you've tested positive you should be suspended at that time” she said.

    ...A report on alleged doping practices at F.C. Barcelona published by French paper Le Monde was ruled defamatory. The paper and the journalist who wrote the article, Stephane Mandard, were ordered to pay a fine of €300, 000 for damages caused, and print the court’s decision in the paper and on its website. Le Monde will appeal the decision calling it “completely excessive”.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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