CAS rejects Azerbaijan's third appeal

Aug. 08, 2008, 2:04 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected a third appeal by the Azerbaijan women's field hockey team on Friday to replace Spain at the Olympics because of doping violations.

CAS dismissed Azerbaijan's allegation that the International Hockey Federation had discriminated against it by failing to appeal a decision by its own internal review body to overturn two Spanish players' suspension from positive tests.

"The FIH has not abused its discretion," CAS said in a statement. "We do not believe that an international federation must appeal every time its own internal body decides after a review of the facts not to issue a sanction in a doping matter."

CAS also rejected a request by the Azerbaijanis to be included in the 12-team event as an added competitor.

Azerbaijan had twice launched appeals at CAS' special Beijing tribunal within the past week following the events at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April.

Spain qualified with a 3-2 victory over Azerbaijan 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.