Friday, February 22, 2002
Any public allegations against French to come later
SALT LAKE CITY -- The International Skating Union said Friday it will meet in April to make a final decision about accusations against a French figure skating judge and the head of the French skating federation stemming from the controversial pairs event.
The ISU Council received a report from its investigators and said it will hand over all the evidence to judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne and French federation chief Didier Gailhaguet, who is also a council member.
Le Gougne and Gailhaguet will have a chance to defend themselves at the meeting in April. No specific date has been set.
The ISU said it will inform Le Gougne and Gailhaguet about the nature of the alleged offenses, but did not say publicly what they were.
The interim suspension of Le Gougne will remain in force until the council's decision.
Witnesses told ISU investigators that Le Gougne told them Gailhaguet pressured her to vote for the Russians in the pairs event in a deal that was supposed to help the French win ice dancing. The Russians won the pairs in a 5-4 decision, but the Canadians were later given a matching gold after Le Gougne told the ISU she had, indeed, been influenced to vote for the Russians.
A week later, Le Gougne spoke to the ISU investigators in the presence of her two attorneys and recanted her previous statements. She said she was not pressured into voting for the Russians and placed them first on merit. She is asking to be reinstated as judge.
Gailhaguet has consistently denied putting any pressure on Le Gougne.
"I have not yet been informed of the allegations," Gailhaguet said Friday, adding that he was unhappy that it would take until April for a decision.
"I have been categorically clear from the start," he said. "So I am surprised they have not been able to settle this issue for good. There is no evidence at all against us."
If any action is taken against Le Gougne or Gailhaguet they can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.