USA Field Hockey

Aug 06 CAS rejects Azerbaijan's case against Spain again

Aug. 06, 2008, 9:04 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING(AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed a second appeal by the Azerbaijan women's field hockey team Wednesday to replace the Spanish team at the Beijing Olympics because of doping violations.

Azerbaijan again challenged the decision by the International Hockey Federation on alleged doping by two Spanish players at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan. CAS dismissed the first appeal last Saturday.

CAS rejected the request at its special Beijing tribunal by arguing that the FIH didn't ``abuse its discretion'' by failing to appeal the decision by its internal review body that the Spaniards were eligible to compete.

The case could still be appealed by the International Olympic Committee or the World Anti-Doping Agency, although they would only have until the end of Wednesday. The Azerbaijanis have until Spain's first match on Sunday to appeal again.

``It's not impossible, but on which ground would they appeal?'' CAS secretary-general Matthieu Reeb said.

Spain qualified for the Olympics with a 3-2 victory over Azerbaijan on April 20 but two of its players, Gloria Comerma and an unidentified teammate, tested positive for banned substances after the match.

The players requested a hearing with the governing body's discipline committee when the FIH recommended that Spain lose its Olympic place after the two ``B-samples'' returned positive. Following that hearing, the FIH ruled that Comerma committed a violation but decided not to impose any sanction because it ``established that she bore no fault or negligence,'' but it was unclear why.

The Spanish players believed they were contaminated by the air-conditioning system or their food may have been tampered with after several fell ill before the final.

The federation's judicial commission also ruled that the second player had not committed an anti-doping violation because it believed her urine sample had been swapped and the sample tested was not hers.

The sport's rules state that a country must be disqualified from a tournament if more than one team member tests positive.

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