Ski coach Alaver to go to court over doping allegations

Mati Alaver.
Mati Alaver. Source: ERR

The prosecutor's office has filed a lawsuit against the former head coach of the Estonian men's skiing team Mati Alaver, who is accused of inducing doping of four athletes.

The case was sent to Harju County Court in conciliation proceedings, the press service of the State Prosecutor's Office said on Tuesday.

The prosecutions said some of the evidence collected was in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Austria and Germany, and relate to the actions of the 65-year-old trainer from 2016 to 2019. 

The report notes that a criminal investigation is ongoing in Austria and Germany, where doping is also a criminal offense.

The details of the charge and the content of the compromise agreement which has been concluded between the prosecutor's office and the accused will not be disclosed before the trial. 

Alaver declined to comment on the matter. "I'm not ready to comment," he said over the telephone to ERR. 

A doping scandal involving Estonian skiers occurred on Feb. 27 at the World Ski Championships in Seefeld, Austria when Austrian police and German prosecutors announced the exposure of an international criminal doping network and carried out searches of several national teams. 

A total of nine suspects were detained, including two Estonian skiers - Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu.

The case against the former head coach was opened on March 11, 2019 following revelations that two Estonian skiers, Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu had been supplied with illicit doping substances by German doctor Mark Schmidt, while at a competition in Austria.

Alaver told ERR shortly before the opening of the investigation that he had introduced Tammjärv to Schmidt, calling it "the biggest mistake of my life",  but denied allegations that he had tolerated the use of doping.

He was later stripped of two state honors by president Kersti Kaljulaid, and had his coaching status revoked by the Estonian Olympic Committee.

The case was brought under article 195 of the Penal Code, which could result in a fine or imprisonment for up to three years if he is found guilty.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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