New information revealed in Alex Schwazer's case

Photo: Wikimedia

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Former Italian President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano and Alex Schwazer.


By Luca Arfini
The Italian court of Bolzano has released the motivations behind the convictions of FIDAL officials. They were accused of being knowledgeable about the doping substances taken by the athlete Alex Schwazer, but remaining silent.

This April, the Tribunal of Bolzano published the reasons regarding the convictions of two doctors, Pierluigi Fiorella and Giuseppe Fischetto, and a former technical sector chief, Rita Bottiglieri, from the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL). The accusations are unequivocal; according to the judgment issued in January 2018 by Italian judge Carla Scheidle, all three knew that the Italian race walker and Olympic gold medalist Alex Schwazer was using doping substances back in 2012, but none of them did anything to stop him. Therefore, they have all been convicted for encouraging the use of doping substances.

According to the 60-page sentence document, Schwazer´s report on the events has been crucial in determining the guiltiness of the FIDAL officials.  According Schwazer’s testimony, Fiorella not only knew what he was doing, but also provided guidance on how to elude being caught. The narrative told by the athlete has been corroborated by the telephone conversations and the emails exchanged between the two.

Regarding Fiorella, the sentence states: "He did not limit himself to omit the due communications to the UPA (the anti-doping office, ed), but despite being explicitly informed by Alex Schwazer about the use of doping substances, not only he did not take action, but he had even offered an active help to the athlete, advising him what to do and how to behave to get away with it."

Similar are the accusations made towards Giuseppe Fischetto. According to the court, he did not inform anyone about what was going on, on the contrary, he tried to delay the test on the athlete´s positivity.

“After being certain about the intake of doping substances by Alex Schwazer in April 2012, expressing himself in terms of 'certain manipulation', he did not take action or reported anything, but, on the contrary, he also adopted tactics and tricks suitable for postponing the assessment of positivity over time, “ it is written in the sentence.

According to the judge, technical officer Rita Bottiglieri could not have been kept in the dark about Schwazer’s situation because of her close working relationship with Giuseppe Fischetto. The two doctors were sentenced to two years of prison and a fine of 10,000 euro, while Rita Bottiglieri got 9 months of jail and a 4,000 euro fine.

Schwazer was found positive in two anti-doping tests during the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016. The most recent of the doping cases is still open while investigations are taking place, looking into the hypothesis that the test tubes were manipulated. 


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