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Estonian Ski Association Hopes to Return Alaver as Head Coach

Mati Alaver
Mati Alaver Source: Photo: ERR

With the Veerpalu doping scandal now behind it, the Estonian Ski Association says it wants Mati Alaver to sign up once again as head coach of the nation's cross-country ski team, the position from which he was suspended in 2011.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport cleared Estonian skier Andrus Veerpalu of doping charges on Tuesday. In an interview on ETV's evening news program, Alaver avoided a definite "yes" or "no" on whether he would return to his previous job, but he said he would soon be meeting with the Ski Association to discuss the matter, 10 months before the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The president of Russia's Cross-Country Ski Federation, Yelena Vyalbe, has attempted to recruit Alaver as her organization's head coach, saying he was the best candidate. In several instances, there have been media reports that Alaver already took up the offer, only to be later refuted by the coach himself. The Russian Ski Federation's president said that the doping scandal had not shaken her confidence in Alaver.

But Alaver turned the offer down, saying he wanted to focus on supporting Veerpalu during the doping case. "I have decided that if Veerpalu is found guilty, then I will resign from the post of head coach of the Estonian team," Alaver had said, at a time before the suspension. "If everything goes well and he is found not guilty, then I will continue to lead the team."

Coaching already at a young age, Alaver is credited with training two-time Olympic gold medal winner and two-time world champion Andrus Veerpalu, as well as world championship medalist Jaak Mae.

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