Sweden's Backstrom given doping reprimand

Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:48am EST
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BERNE (Reuters) - Sweden's Nicklas Backstrom, who was forced to miss last year's Olympic ice hockey final over an alleged doping offense, has been issued a reprimand after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) brokered an agreement with anti-doping agency WADA.

CAS said in a statement on Thursday that, under the agreement, Backstrom would be issued the minimum sanction permitted under the WADA code, and would keep the silver medal awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"Mr. Backstrom, WADA, the IOC and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) are pleased that this matter has now been concluded, and wish to clarify that at no time was Mr. Backstrom's receipt of his Olympic silver medal at issue in the proceedings," said a joint statement issued by the parties.

Backstrom was pulled from the final against Canada in Sochi after a doping test showed an elevated level of the stimulant pseudoephedrine.

Ice hockey officials were furious at the timing and Sweden said the IOC had only told them two hours before the start of the game.

Backstrom said the adverse finding had come from an over-the-counter medication he uses to treat a sinus condition, and that he had been using the medication for years without any problems.

The IOC later found that Backstrom had committed an anti-doping violation but could receive the silver medal due to mitigating circumstances. However, Backstrom appealed to CAS, challenging that a violation had taken place.

In October, the IIHF, following its own investigation, concluded that Backstrom had not violated the WADA code, prompting WADA itself to appeal to CAS.

"The IIHF, WADA and Mr Backstrom have each agreed to resolve WADA's appeal against the IIHF Disciplinary Committee ruling on the basis that Mr Backstrom be issued a reprimand in respect of such violation," said CAS.   Continued...

Sweden men's ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom skates during a team practice at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 22, 2014, ahead of their gold medal game against Canada on February 23.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder