Austrian league clears Mayrleb of doping

Updated: November 19, 2006, 3:40 PM ET
Reuters

VIENNA, Nov 19 - The Austrian Bundesliga has said it will not be charging former international Christian Mayrleb with doping despite his positive test for a banned diuretic.

The 34-year-old Pasching striker tested positive for the substance following an unannounced training control on Nov. 6, but said he had been using it as medication against high blood pressure.

Following a disciplinary meeting held on Saturday, the league announced that it would not be ordering any proceedings against the former international.

"During the meeting it was established that Christian Mayrleb had not taken any performance-enhancing substance, but simply a diuretic that consulted experts said could even limit performance," it said in a statement.

"There was also no evidence that the player, who has been taking medication against high blood pressure for years, had attempted to cheat."

The disciplinary committee further argued that Mayrleb had relied upon the expert advice of a former team doctor who should have sought exemption for the substance's therapeutic use.

"We have had around 600 (doping) tests in Austrian football to date, and this was the first positive," Bundesliga managing director Georg Pangl said in the statement.

"The proceedings have shown, though, that this case also did not involve doping."

The Austrian league's verdict could still be challenged by world soccer's governing body FIFA or by the world anti-doping agency (WADA) which has frequently insisted on strict liability rules in regard to claims of inadvertent doping violations.

Following the initial news of his positive A-test, Mayrleb was left out of the Pasching team that beat Sturm Graz 1-0 on Saturday to move up to second place in the Bundesliga.

A former international with 27 caps for Austria, Mayrleb was the league's top scorer in 2005. (Writing by Mark Ledsom in Berne)

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