ZURICH – The IIHF Disciplinary Committee has issued a one-and-a-half year suspension to Latvian national team player Vitalijs Pavlovs for his positive doping test at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Pavlovs is suspended from all competitions authorized or organized by the IIHF or any IIHF Member Association.
Another Latvian player, Ralfs Freibergs, has been disqualified retroactively from the Games by the International Olympic Committee for a positive test as well. The IIHF will issue a provisional suspension to Freibergs, barring him from participating in the upcoming 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, while the Disciplinary Committee reviews his case to decide if further action is warranted.
Pavlovs was tested on 19 February 2014, immediately following his participation in the Men’s quarter-final game between Latvia and Canada.
The analysis of the ‘A’sample revealed the presence of methylhexaneamine (dimethylpentylamine). The substance is classified under Section S6(b) of the 2014 World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List as a specified stimulant prohibited in competition. The analysis of the B-sample confirmed the presence of the prohibited substance.
After a hearing held in Sochi on February 22, 2014, the IOC Disciplinary Commission decided that the Pavlovs would be disqualified from the quarter-final game, would be excluded from the Games, have his Games accreditation and identity card cancelled, and have his diploma withdrawn. Pavlov’s statistics recorded with the Latvian team at the Games were declared void.
Though Pavlovs at first denied that he had taken food supplements, the IOC Disciplinary Committee found out that among the substances which the player had admitted to have taken before the training and after the games for recovery support, were food supplements from Latvia, which had been recommended by the doctor of his club team, Dynamo Riga, and which he and the team had taken during the whole playing season.
According to the statements of the player at the hearing in Sochi and in his written explanation the IIHF Disciplinary Committee, he took the specified banned substance without being aware of it. He admitted that the preparation which he had used right before the Canada-Latvia game was a different preparation from what he had previously taken on the recommendation of his club doctor during the whole winter season and also in Sochi.
The Panel determined that Pavlovs should have taken into account that preparations of the kind he had taken can never be trusted and considered safe, even if the same preparation had not been tested positive at an earlier test; the player had been aware of that possibility.
According to Article 5.7 of the IIHF Disciplinary Regulations in connection with Article 2.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites, as specified in the Prohibited List (Code Article 4), in an athlete’s sample constitutes an anti-doping violation.
The period of ineligibility to be imposed for the violation of Code Article 2.1 according to IIHF Disciplinary Regulation Article 5.7, Code Article 10.2 - for the first violation - should be 2 years. This was reduced to 1.5 years based on the determination that Pavlovs acted negligently but without significant negligence in failing to verify the safety of the supplements he was taking. Pavlovs should have taken into account that preparations of the kind he had taken can never be trusted and considered safe, even if the same preparation had not been tested positive at an earlier test; the player had to be aware of that possibility.
Considering the above the Panel has decided that:
1. Pavlovs is suspended from the participation in all competitions authorized or organized by the IIHF or any IIHF Member Association.
2. The period of ineligibility amounts to 1 and ½ years (18 months) commencing on May 1st, 2014, ending on October 30th, 2015.