Friday, June 6, 2008

Spain threatened with Olympic expulsion

Spain's women's hockey team could be banned from the Olympics after two squad members gave positive drugs tests at a qualifying tournament. The players must now plead their cases to an International Hockey Federation commission before the end of June.

According to FIH rules, if more than one member of a team tests positive, the whole team can be thrown out. Spain claim their food at the event in Azerbaijan was sabotaged. If they are barred, Azerbaijan would replace them in Beijing.

The Spanish hockey authorities says there is evidence the positive tests are part of a deliberate attempt to unsettle the team during the Olympic qualifying tournament. They have levelled a number of accusations at the organisers, including claims a number of their players fell ill after drinking water given to them by the organisers during matches.

Spanish Hockey Federation (RFEH) president Marti Colomer told Spanish sports daily AS last month that he was convinced his players were not drug cheats. "We believe the positives were for a powerful stimulant, an amphetamine or something like that," said Colomer. "We are absolutely positive that the two girls had nothing to do with this. I would bet my life on it."

The Azerbaijan Hockey Federation has not commented on the Spanish allegations. In accordance with the provisions in the FIH Anti-Doping Policy, which is in line with the World Anti-Doping Code, both players requested a hearing before the FIH Judicial Commission.

These hearings, which will take place before the end of June 2008, will determine whether or not an anti-doping rule violation has been committed and, if so, what the sanction should be.


Queso said...

So are Spain just looking to divert blame or is a conspiracy theory against the Azerbajani's justified??

Stephen Findlater said...

More on this story from TalkHockeyRadio:

Spain's disqualification could result in the second placed team in Baku, Azerbaijan, being awarded the place vacated by Spain. However, this comes amid allegations from the Spanish camp following their return from Baku. These include four members of the squad being overcome by gas leaking from the air conditioning in their hotel, being given contaminated drinking water, and players being bombarded with telephone calls whilst trying to sleep in their hotel.