This content is not available in your region

Estonia opens criminal case against ski coach over doping

Access to the comments Comments
By Reuters

<p><span class="caps">TALLINN</span> (Reuters) – Estonia opened criminal proceedings on Monday against veteran cross-country skiing coach Mati Alaver, who is suspected of having persuaded athletes to dope.</p> <p>Two Estonian skiers were among five arrested in Austria last month at the Nordic skiing world championships over suspected doping. Another Estonian skier later admitted to doping. </p> <p>Estonia’s public prosecutor’s office said in a statement it was investigating whether Alaver, who has coached for several decades, had encouraged athletes to use banned performance-enhancing drugs.</p> <p>Estonian daily Postimees reported that police had raided the home of Alaver, who was briefly detained on Monday for questioning. </p> <p>Alaver has made no immediate comment regarding the proceedings and Reuters was unable to contact him. </p> <p>Alaver was stripped of two state awards earlier this month in the wake of the scandal. </p> <p>“Doping is not a criminal offence in Estonia, but we are doing all we can to collect information to help our partners,” public prosecutor Taavi Pern said in a statement, referring to the Austrian police’s arrests. </p> <p>Last year Austrian authorities said they were investigating five officials and five athletes from Russia’s biathlon team over possible doping-related offences during the 2017 World Championship.</p> <p/> <p> (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris)</p>