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German Swim Team Seeks Injunction

January 7, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ Germany’s swimming federation launched court action against the sport’s world governing body today, seeking an injunction to lift the ban on team leader Winfried Leopold.

FINA stripped Leopold, 59, of his accreditation this week for admitting that he had knowledge of steroid abuse while a coach in East Germany.

``We are going to defend the case,″ said Gunnar Werner, FINA’s honorary secretary. Werner refused further comment.

German Swimming Federation president Ruediger Tretow said FINA failed to appear at a Supreme Court hearing, and that the case had been adjourned until Thursday. The world championships opened today.

``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. ``It is disheartening to see that elite athletes should be affected in a manner such as this.″

Perth lawyer Dirk Fienaeur is representing the German federation.

``The German Swimming Federation and Mr. Leopold have commenced Supreme Court proceedings,″ Fienaeur said. ``The case is that the decision taken by the FINA executive and bureau is outside the powers conferred on FINA by its constitution and rules.″

The German federation previously filed an appeal with FINA, which was scheduled to be discussed later today.

Leopold served a two year ban from 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.

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