On March 10th, 2003 Austria’s Cross-Country head-coach Walter Mayer was suspended for life by the International Ski Federation (FIS). He is now cleared by an Austrian court and is suing FIS for $400,000.
It was during the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Games that blood transfusion bags and equipment were found at the house where the Austrians were living. Mayer admitted to have manipulated the skiers’ blood by using UV-light and ozon. IOC suspended Mayer for 8 years, while FIS later suspended him for life.
On March 4th Meyer was back as the official team leader for the Austrian National Team, coaching his son Marc, who also had been suspended for 2 year’s for a similar doping case.
Did not appeal
The regional court in Insbruck, Austria, cleared Mayer from the FIS life-ban based on the reason that it had not been proven that the blood manipulation had improved any of his athletes' performance. Doping-tests in Salt Lake had not given positive results for any of the Austrian skiers.
FIS decided not to appeal the decision, and Mayer could therefore immediately start up his job as Sports Director in the Austrian Ski Federation, where his contract ends in 2005.
After having won in Austrian court, Mayer is now suing FIS for 330,000 Euro (about $300,000).
Norwigian Cross-Country head coach Krister SrgÃ¥rd has clear opinions:
– I do not really know what all has happened here, but it seems hopeless that Mayer now has been cleared. There were clear reasons why he and the athletes got suspended in the first place. It is curious that a regional Austrian court , perhaps not totally neutral, can clear people that has broken IOC and FIS rules