Authority starts proceedings after ski coach alleged ban violations

Mati Alaver at a domestic hearing at Harju County Court in  November 2019.
Mati Alaver at a domestic hearing at Harju County Court in November 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia is initiating proceedings following revelations that former national ski team coach Mati Alaver has been working with a ski team ahead of a competition in Finland. Alaver has been banned from coaching for four years after being found guilty of doping activities.

"Estonian Anti-Doping (Eesti Antidoping, the responsible organization – ed.) has the right to impose a temporary ban on [ski team leader Aivar] Rehemaa for the duration of the investigation," board member Henn Vallimäe told daily Õhtuleht (link in Estonian) Tuesday, noting that this ban could take place with immediate effect.

"It concerns me that now the [ski team's] athletes are also formally connected and caught up in the same mess," Vallimäe went on.

"Rehemaa put the sportspeople in the situation where he was the representing a banned individual. It is my belief that some or even most of the athletes were aware of this, but that is my assumption."

As reported on ERR News, Finland's Ski Association notified their Estonian counterpart that Alaver, who received a four-year coaching ban after being found guilty of long-running ski doping activities, was involved in an International Ski Federation (FIS) competition, organizing a camp for Estonian skiiers to last three weeks, ahead of a competition in Ruka, Finland.

The Rehemaa-led team comprises Marko Kilp, Karl Sebastjan Dremlju, Johanna Udras, Steve Vahi, Kaarel Kasper Kõrge, Martin Himma and Margaret Peterson, who are taking part with the AR Pro Team in Finland.

The Estonian authorities say they will forward evidence of Alaver's, and consequently Rehemaa's, violations to the FIS for assessment if and when they get hold of it.

Estonian national team skiers Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu were detained after a police raid during the world championships at Seefeld, Austria, in February 2019. The pair, along with another Estonian skier, Algo Kärp, later admitted to engaging in blood doping, which was subsequently determined to have been orchestrated by Alaver, in conjunction with notorious German "doping doctor" Mark Schmidt.

Alaver was banned from coaching until August 2023.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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