Alaver may be stripped of decorations

Mati Alaver.

PHOTO: Jürgen Puistaja / Kanal 2

Estonian cross-country skiing coach Mati Alaver may be stripped of his state decorations in the wake of  revelations that he provided skier Karel Tammjarv with the contact details of the German doctor seen as standing at the center of the doping ring exposed at the world skiing championships in Austria earlier this week.

"When the unworthy acts of a recipient of state decorations are confirmed -- and Mati Alaver indeed admitted to it today -- the head of state will initiate the withdrawal of the decorations. The head of state is on a visit abroad at the moment, but after her return she will get familiar with the circumstances and will make the decision on Monday," the president's PR adviser Taavi Linnamae told Postimees on Friday.

After the 2006 Winter Olympics, Estonian President Arnold Ruutel bestowed the Order of the White Star, 1st Class, on skier Andrus Veerpalu and 3rd class of the same order on his coach Mati Alaver after Veerpalu had won his second Olympic gold medal. Previously Alaver had been decorated with the Order of the Red Cross, 4th Class, in 2001.

Veteran skiing coach Mati Alaver confirmed on Friday that it was him who provided skier Karel Tammjarv with the contact details of German sports doctor Mark Schmidt.

"I hereby confirm that I mediated the contact details of German sports doctor Mark Schmidt to Karel Tammjarv in 2016. This is the biggest mistake of my life and I sincerely regret it. I offer my apologies to the athletes and their next-of-kin, the Estonian skiing community and the sports public. There can be no justification to my actions," Alaver said in a statement quoted by Postimees.

Previously Karel Tammjarv had told reporters at a press conference that he received the contact details of the alleged doping doctor from Alaver in 2016.

Alaver on Friday resigned also from the executive committee of the Estonian Olympic Committee.

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