The ethics committee of world athletics has decided to stay out of the Schwazer case

by time news – The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the ethics committee of world athletics, according to, has decided not to enter the case of Alex Schwazer. The world body, founded by the same athletics federation (former Iaaf, now World Athletics) and which came into operation on 4 April 2017 to fight doping in the ‘Queen of sport’, says that “the case of Alex Schwazer predates the Athletics Integrity Unit and then treated by World Athletics “.

The AIU, an investigating and judging body in matters of doping and ethics in athletics, is also involved in the matter of doping in Russian athletics: the Russian federation RusAF is suspended by the former Iaaf, which in any case had an ethics committee, from end of November 2015.

In recent days the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe on the Schwazer case had declared, “World Athletics and Athletics Integrity Unit are absolutely faithful to the position taken”. The same Coe had warned Italy, after the statements of the president of Coni Giovanni Malagò and the number one in athletics Stefano Mei – that they asked for clarity on the Schwazer case – admonishing, “I don’t want Italy to be on the wrong side of this story”.

How the AIU works

The function of the Athletics Integrity Unit is officially independent from the work of World Athletics, but it remains an emanation of it. Before April four years ago, the former IAAF had an anti-doping department. At the head was Thomas Capdevielle who on the afternoon of 21 June 2016 notified Schwazer’s second positivity to the Italian Federatletica.

Since April 2017, Capdevielle is the Head of Doping Controls within the Athletics Integrity Unit of which he is also Deputy Director. The French official, as stated in the court documents of the Court of Bolzano, is the one who wrote the word ‘conspiracy against AS’ (AS was Alex Schwazer) in an email exchange with the legal advisor of the then Iaaf, Ross Wenzel. Messages that referred to the tug-of-war of the Cologne laboratory in not delivering – which then happened in February 2018, a year after the request of the Italian judge – the test tubes containing Schwazer’s urine. The Bolzano judge Walter Pelino spoke of “undue pressure and judicial fraud”. The same statute of World Athletics states, “All anti-doping matters are handled by the Athletics Integrity Unit”.

The investigating and judging body in matters of doping and ethics in athletics, which has communicated not to deal with the Schwazer case because prior to its operation, is dealing with a taskforce of the evolution of the situation in Russia with the national federation of Moscow (RusAF) suspended for doping cases since the end of November 2015.

Because Schwarzer could still go to Tokyo

The entire file of the Schwazer affair will soon land on the counters of the Swiss Federal Court. The lawyers of the South Tyrolean walker will ask the highest judicial authority in Switzerland for the suspension of the 8-year disqualification imposed on Schwazer in August 2016 by the Sports Arbitration Court of Lausanne, a judicial body in the sports field.

Why suspension? On February 18, Judge Pelino, in closing the criminal case for doping against Schwazer, highlighted several very significant aspects in the 87 pages. The judge found that “the urine samples taken from Alex Schwazer on 01.01.2016 have been altered in order to be positive” citing the “self-referential system by Wada (anti-doping agency) and Iaaf who do not tolerate any checks by the external and indeed are ready to do anything to prevent it, to the point of producing false declarations and engaging in procedural fraud “.

The Swiss Federal Court in May 2020 rejected the request for annulment of the disqualification also because there were no new elements. Now, with the ruling of Judge Pelino, the doors for Schwazer’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics are not technically closed.

If the Swiss Federal Court admits the news, or what is written by the Bolzano judge, it will be able to issue a decree to suspend the disqualification and therefore allow the athlete to compete. However, it will be a provisional measure pending the definitive one of the Sports Arbitration Court of Lausanne which, at that point, could confirm the disqualification or cancel it. In case of suspension Schwazer could compete sub-judice but be excluded from the rankings at a later time, that is when the Tas will rule.

Article updated at 4.30 pm


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