14th April 2021

Andrus Veerpalu guilty of participation in “Operation Aderlass”

• Former cross-country skier Andrus Veerpalu (EST) guilty of participation in the “Operation Aderlass”

On 17th March 2021, the CAS Anti-Doping Division found Andrus Veerpalu (EST) guilty of participating in the blood doping scheme known as “Operation Aderlass” and banned him for two years from FIS-sanctioned events. This was the last of six doping bans against cross-country skiers and coaching personnel under the jurisdiction of the FIS.

The decision sanctions Veerpalu for a violation of Article 2.9 of the 2016 FIS Anti-Doping Rules because of assisting, conspiring and covering up or any other type of intentional complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation for two years until 28 September 2021. The award will be published on the CAS website. The decision was not appealed and is binding and enforceable.

On 27th February 2019, at the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld (AUT) the Austrian police raided several athletes on suspicion of blood doping. Simultaneously, the German police searched the medical practice of Dr. Mark Schmidt in Erfurt (GER). Following the incidents in Seefeld and Erfurt, law enforcement authorities in Germany, Austria and Estonia initiated criminal investigations and proceedings against a number of athletes and support personnel, including members of the privately sponsored Estonian sports team “Haanja”.

At the same time, the FIS pursued the possible violations of its anti-doping rules. During the investigations, five members of the team “Haanja”, Mati Alaver, Karel Tammjärv, Andreas Veerpalu, Algo Kärp and Alexej Poltoranin, confessed their involvement in the blood doping practices of Dr. Mark Schmidt. As none of them challenged the charges, the FIS Independent Anti-Doping Delegate sanctioned them with periods of ineligibility between two and a half and four years, baring them from participating in any sports competition or other activity authorized or organized by FIS or any other signatory of the WADA code.

Other athletes involved in “Operation Aderlass” under the jurisdiction of the FIS, in particular Austrian cross-country skiers Max Hauke, Dominik Baldauf and Johannes Dürr, have been sanctioned by the Austrian NADA. Dr. Mark Schmidt was never accredited for FIS competitions and did therefore not fall under the jurisdiction of FIS. He is serving a four-year ten-month prison term because of his violation of the German anti-doping law.

• This media release was published by the international ski federation (FIS) on 14 April 2021. Click here for the original.

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