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Court Restores Accreditation

January 8, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ German swim team leader Winfried Leopold had his world championships accreditation restored by the Western Australian Supreme Court on Thursday.

The German Swimming Federation took world swimming governing body FINA to court after FINA revoked Leopold’s accreditation for comments he made about his previous involvement in steroid abuse in the former East Germany.

The court ruled that only FINA’s doping commission had the power to revoke the accreditation, according to its constitution. FINA secretary Gunnar Werner said FINA would pursue the matter by calling together its doping commission to hear charges against Leopold as soon as possible.

``If the doping panel takes the decision of suspending him, that will be an immediate effect,″ said Werner.

On Wednesday, German swimming federation president Ruediger Tretow said that FINA had failed to appear at the Supreme Court hearing and the case had been adjourned until Thursday.

Leopold served a two-year ban beginning in 1991 after admitting to his part in systematic doping. He repeated his admission in 1993 and the Germans say the FINA ban amounts to a double penalty being imposed on Leopold.

FINA said it was unaware that Leopold had made the previous statements on drugs.

Werner admitted Tuesday that Leopold was banned for the embarrassment he caused to FINA by confessing to his drug past at its premier meet.

``This happened at our competition, so we had to do something about it,″ Werner said. ``If he had kept his mouth (shut) here, there would be no reason to react.″

Tretow said he took the decision to pursue court action after discussing the matter with the team.

``The ultimate aim of the whole action would be to assist the team during the world championships so they can be calm and get on with the games,″ Tretow said.

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