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  • Austrian Olympic Committee Strikes Back at Turin Doping Scandal


     (ATR) The Austrian Olympic Committee has banned 14 officials for life from the Games and accepted the resignation of vice president Peter Schroecksnadel, the Austrian Ski Federation president.

    Meeting in an emergency session in Vienna Tuesday to deal with the repercussions of the Turin blood doping scandal, the AOC leadership issued the ban against the officials from the cross country and biathlon teams, some coaches, some of them medical staff.

    The banishments follow last week’s judgment from the IOC that Austria had failed to properly supervise its athletes at the 2006 Olympics. A police raid on athlete quarters during the Games turned up an array of equipment for blood doping. The IOC fined the Austrian committee $1 million for its role in the scandal. In April, six athletes were banned for life from the Olympics by the IOC over their involvement.

    At its meeting Tuesday, the Austrian committee affirmed it will not appeal the IOC ruling.

    “As a consequence of the IOC’s criticisms we at the AOC accept that by trusting our member federations we did not take the steps to control the situation outside the

    Olympic Village which the IOC would have wished,” Austria NOC President Leo Wallner said following the meeting.

    Wallner says the AOC will have to comply with demands for greater supervision.

    “This means that in the future we all inevitably

    Austrian NOC President Leo Wallner says he is convinced the scandal is a separate issue from the Salzburg bid.  
    have to take

    stricter measures in dealing with our member federations,” he says.

    Wallner says the penalties issued Tuesday are aimed at individuals and not the sports federations.

    He says the Austrian committee will follow a zero tolerance policy in the future: “anybody who is found guilty of a doping offense will be excluded from accreditation at all future Olympic Games”.

    While Schroeksnadel

    Peter Schroecksnadel resigns from the Austrian Olympic Committee, but remains head of the ski federation.  
    has resigned his vice presidency with the Austrian NOC, he remains the president of the ski federation. The AOC board directed him to apply the same measures of supervision and accountability that the IOC is demanding of the NOC. The ski federation is required to complete a plan of action by June 30, 2008 to prevent future scandals similar to Turin.

    The actions of the Austria NOC have been seen as necessary to step to clear the air for the Salzburg bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which faces an IOC vote in five weeks. In comments this weekend, Salzburg Mayor Heinz Schaden had said strong action was needed from the AOC to avoid trouble for the bid.

    “I would like to repeat again that the IOC’s judgment was not against Federations but against certain individuals and I am therefore convinced that this doping case has no connection with Salzburg’s bid to organize the Olympic Winter Games in 2014,” said Wallner.

    Prior to the meeting in Vienna, Schroeksnadel confirmed to reporters his intent to resign from the Austrian NOC, saying he wants to help the Salzburg bid.

    "I am a fanatic Austrian and in no way do I want to stand in the way of a successful bid,” said Schroeksnadel.

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