(ATR) The IOC is ready to announce a $1 million fine against the Austrian Olympic Committee over a blood doping scandal at the Turin Olympics, say sources to Around the Rings as well as Austrian media reports. A ban from the Olympics for Austria – including 2014, for which Salzburg is bidding - could also be in the works.
One report from Austria says the fine would be waived if the AOC is able to clean house at the Austrian Ski Federation. The IOC seeks the removal of federation president Peter Schroeksnadel and other officers who are closely linked to the Turin scandal.
The IOC is also asking for Schroeksnadel to be removed as a vice president of the AOC. A meeting of the AOC leadership has been called next week to consider ousting Shroeksnadel.
The penalties, the harshest handed down to an NOC for doping charges, come 15 months after Italian police and drug agency officials raided the living quarters of members of the Austrian cross country and biathlon teams in Turin.
While no athletes tested positive, the evidence seized by police includes blood bags, syringes and other supplies used in blood doping.
Last month six of the athletes involved in the Turin raids
|Austrian Ski Federation President Peter Schroeksnadel must go, says an IOC report.
were banned from the Olympics for life by the IOC.
The fact that this is a second offense has led to the harsh penalty for the AOC. In 2002 the IOC warned the Austrian committee following revelation of a smaller-scale case of blood doping at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Left unspoken in the dozen-plus pages of the IOC report is the possibility that the Austria could be banned from the Olympics for 16 years, unless the AOC fully complies.
That ban would include the 2014 Olympics, for which Salzburg is one of the three candidates in the July 4 vote by the IOC.
Some members of the IOC Executive Board are reported to have pushed for an immediate Austrian ban from the Games, which was apparently averted through intervention by AOC President Leo Wallner and secretary general Heinz Jungwirth.
“Very tough” is Salzburg 2014 director Gernot Leitner’s reaction to the impending trouble for the AOC.
“It’s clear that there is a judgment on the table. It’s good that the situation is now official and some changes can be made,” he tells Around the Rings, adding that the bid has never been implicated in the scandal.
Still, he admits it would be better not to have this distraction with seven weeks to go before the IOC vote on 2014 in Guatemala.
“It can affect the Austrian image overall,” he says.
The IOC findings are expected to be released on May 24. Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.