January 15, 2015 / 4:53 PM / in 3 years

Sweden's Backstrom given doping reprimand

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.

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

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.

“WADA, the IOC and the IIHF take this opportunity to state that there is no indication that Mr Backstrom intended to enhance his sport performance by taking a prohibited substance,” added the statement.

“The prohibited substance (PSE) was contained within a product Mr. Backstrom was taking for medical reasons..., Mr Backstrom relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that his use of the product would not give rise to a positive sample, and he openly disclosed the product on the doping control form at the time of the doping control.”

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis

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