Finnish Ski Association Stands Behind Top Official

FasterSkierJune 30, 2008

The International Herald tribune reports that the Finnish Ski Association is standing behind the organization's secretary-general Jari Piirainen. This comes just hours after a report that the Association would ask Piirainen to step down. The decision was made following a special board meeting. The board meeting was called in the wake of claims of widespread doping by former Finnish head coach Kari-Pekka Kyrö. Of Kyrö's claims, Piirainen said, “This only corroborates what I said already after Kaisa Varis tested positive in 2003: I cannot help but think that what really lay behind the Lahti positives was EPO use.”

Piirainen has denied charges that he knew of the doping in Lahti and has threatened legal action against Kyro. He did not take over the position of secretary-general until after Lahti, but served as the Association's cross-country chief from 1989-1997. Kyro specifically accused Piirainen of being the “officer commanding of the Ski Association's doping company” in the 1990s. The former-head coach also claims that the Finnish and Russian cross-country teams had ran a joint doping program – an allegation denied by former secretary-general Antti Leppävuori who served during the Lahti scandal.

Riled by doping allegations, Finnish skiing chief summons meeting

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