On 2 January 2020, the Independent Doping Delegate of the International Ski Federation (FIS) issued four Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRVs) decisions to the following persons:
- Karel Tammjärv (EST);
- Andreas Veerpalu (EST);
- Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ);
- Mati Alaver (EST).
All have been sanctioned with a four-year suspension based on FIS Anti-Doping Rules (FIS ADR) article 2.2 Use of a prohibited substance/method, namely blood doping and article 2.9 Complicity.
None of the four persons requested a Hearing and consequently the decisions were based on FIS ADR article 7.10 Resolution without a Hearing.
The cases are related to the raids that were carried out in Seefeld (AUT) on 27th February 2019 by the Austrian police supported by the German police under its national criminal law for doping.
The authorities stated that the arrests were part of a wide, long-term, investigation into a doping operation run by German Sports doctor Dr. Mark Schmidt involving multiple sports, “on suspicion of commercial sport fraud and the use of illicit substances and methods of doping purposes”.
According to the results of the conducted investigations, all cross-country athletes training with team "Haanja" who had undergone blood doping under Dr. Mark Schmidt's direction had also been provided with Human Growth Hormone for regeneration purpose.
In accordance with the FIS Anti-Doping Rules the athletes were provisionally suspended with immediate effect from 1st March 2019, and Alaver with 28th August 2019.
The cases were then referred to the Independent Doping Delegate in accordance with FIS Anti-Doping Regulations’ protocol, who issued the four-year suspension.
- Karel Tammjärv immediately confessed to the public authorities and then also in a media conference on 1 March 2019 the manipulation of blood and blood components. Since November 2017, Karel Tammjärv underwent numerous blood treatments by Dr. Mark Schmidt. He also provided administrative services to the team, especially the handling of financial matters.
- Andreas Veerpalu confessed that between 2017 and 2019, blood had repeatedly been taken from him and later, immediately before certain competitions, reinjected into his circulatory system.
- Alexey Poltoranin initially confessed to the criminal authorities that at various occasions, blood was withdrawn from his circulatory system and later re-injected into his body. On 8 March 2019, it was reported that Alexey Poltoranin withdrew his confession in a media interview. According to the results of the investigations, it was however evident that Alexej Poltoranin underwent several blood treatments by Dr. Mark Schmidt, for example at the Olympic Games 2018.
- During the investigations, Mati Alaver confessed having established and mediated the contacts between German sports physician Dr. Mark Schmidt and certain cross-country athletes on whom Dr. Schmidt and his assistants performed blood doping. According to the results of the conducted investigations, Mati Alaver also coordinated the times and places of the blood treatments of certain Estonian athletes. Furthermore, Mati Alaver asked Dr. Mark Schmidt for the supply of Human Growth Hormone for regeneration purposes, which he then distributed among the athletes. Moreover, it was on Mati Alaver's recommendation that the athletes drank large amounts of salt water and took albumin to conceal the blood doping.