Sweden coach Pichler to miss Pyeongchang over Sochi connection

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By Philip O’Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s biathlon coach Wolfgang Pichler has been denied an accreditation for the 2018 Winter Olympics due to his association with Russian athletes who have been found guilty of doping, the country’s biathlon federation said.

German-born Pichler coached the Russian team at the 2014 Sochi Games, with several of the athletes subsequently banned for doping violations after investigations by the International Olympic Committee’s Oswald Commission.

The commission was set up in July 2016 to investigate allegations of doping by Russian athletes at the Sochi Games.

The IOC recently issued guidelines stating that “no coaches or medical doctors of athletes sanctioned by the Oswald Commission will be accredited for the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang 2018.”

The Swedish Biathlon Federation said that the 62-year-old Pichler has fallen foul of that guideline and though the statement expressed confidence in the coach, the body said it understood the decision.

“We accept and understand the IOC’s line that says that leaders who worked with Russian athletes who committed doping offences in conjunction with the Sochi Olympics in 2014 cannot attend Pyeongchang 2018,” the statement said.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)

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