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Sports court rejects Azerbaijan's case again

Aug. 06, 2008, 9:32 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING(AP) The top court of international sports dismissed a second request by the Azerbaijan women's field hockey team Wednesday to replace the Spanish team at the Olympics because of drug 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. The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed the first appeal last Saturday.

CAS rejected the new ``urgent'' request at its special Beijing tribunal, contending the field hockey federation did not ``abuse its discretion'' by failing to appeal the decision by its internal body not to ban the Spaniards.

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 one, tested positive for banned substances after the match.

The players requested a hearing with the governing body when the hockey federation recommended that Spain lose its Olympic place after the two B-samples returned positive. Following that hearing, the field hockey body ruled Comerma committed a violation but decided against sanctions 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.