Rene Fasel

Winter sports chief concerned about possible 2022 World Cup in November

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The Winter Olympics would surely be affected if the 2022 World Cup is moved to January or February, but even a potential November World Cup in Qatar is being met with concern by winter sports officials.

“November is the start of the (winter sports) season for maybe, I would say, all the other federations,” Rene Fasel, who heads the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, told the AP. “For sure, we have to put up the flag and say, ‘Hey guys, be careful.’”

Fasel also heads the International Ice Hockey Federation.

“We should really clearly show our position and protect our own interests,” he said, according to the AP.

Senior officials from specific winter sports federations will meet and discuss an International Ski Federation (FIS) proposal this week, according to the AP.

“FIS will submit a proposal to the other six International Winter Sports Federations to sign a resolution against organizing the FIFA World Cup during the winter sports season in 2022,” was a decision made by the FIS Council at a Sunday meeting.

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, whose summer heat has caused soccer leaders to propose moving the tournament from June-July. November and January have been talked about.

In September, the International Olympic Committee reportedly “warned” FIFA about switching dates for 2022.

“We were aware that FIFA might consider changing the dates for the 2022 World Cup,” an IOC spokesman told the Press Association in the United Kingdom in September. “We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to coordinate them and avoid any effect on the Winter Games.”

In August, it was reported that though moving the World Cup out of the oppressive Qatari summer was likely, it was unlikely to move to February, the usual month for the Winter Olympics.

Almaty, Kazakhstan, is the one city to submit a 2022 Winter Olympic bid so far. Munich is moving forward with a bid, as are other European applicants.

The U.S. will not bid. The deadline to apply to the IOC is Nov. 14.

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WADA investigates report that 10,000 Chinese athletes doped

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BERLIN (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 90s.

“The allegations were brought forward by former Chinese physician, Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question,” WADA said Monday.

Xue, who recently arrived in Germany and is seeking political asylum with her son, told broadcaster ARD that more than 10,000 athletes were affected, some as young as 11, and that anyone who was against doping was considered “a danger to the country. And anyone who endangered the country is now in prison.”

The 79-year-old Xue said she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

She said she had not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. She first started working with China’s national teams in the 1970s.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Chinese athletes on the national teams made extensive use of doping substances,” she told ARD. “Medals were showered in doping. Gold, silver and bronze. All international medals should be withdrawn.”

WADA said it will examine “whether such a system may have prevailed beyond these decades.”

The first step, WADA said, was for its “independent intelligence and investigations team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyze available information in coordination with external partners.”

Xue, who continued to work at lower levels after being dismissed from the national team in 1988, said she was only approached afterward when athletes developed problems because of the substances they were given.

“One trainer came to me and said, ‘Doctor Xue, the boys’ breasts keep getting bigger,’” Xue said. “These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.”

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PyeongChang Olympic organizers downplay North Korea concern

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — PyeongChang Olympic organizers played down concern over ongoing tensions with North Korea and also say work has been completed on all venues for the Winter Games.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang organizing committee, said the International Olympic Committee has made it very clear that the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games will go ahead as scheduled.

Speaking at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics shortly after the last rehearsal for Tuesday’s official flame-lighting ceremony, Lee said “there is no Plan B.”

Lee said South Korean officials are working closely with all relevant parties to ensure the Winter Games are safe and secure.

He said his main concern for the Olympics is the weather.

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