Austria formally appeals against Maier ban and fine


VIENNA, AFP

The Austrian Ski Federation (OSV) on Monday formally appealed against a one-race ban and a 25,000 Swiss-franc (US$14,800) fine handed down to their star racer Hermann Maier. Maier was disqualified at Val d’Isere Saturday for a late inspection and descending the course unauthorised. “We have protested the disqualification because of disagreements on the timing between the trainers and the director of the course, Gunter Hujara and – this being an aggravating circumstance – because the official time did not function,” the APA news agency reported OSV lawyer Karl-Heinz Klee as saying. Double Olympic champion Maier was disqualified after race officials determined he had made his inspection two minutes too late under International Ski Federation (FIS) regulations. Maier himself said he was only “30 to 40 seconds late” and said “in future the official time should be visible on the piste.” According to Gunter Hujara, a FIS race judge, Maier had decided after his late inspection to ski down the course anyway “at near competition speed, which put the lives of the people who work on the slope in danger.” Klee described the punishment as disproportionate. OSV director Hans Pum said Maier had no option but to go down the piste having gone to the top in the first place. “You can’t ski alongside the official piste in competition skis,” Pum said. Maier, nicknamed the “Herminator”, said Sunday that nobody had told him not to take the official run. “I’d have broken my skis if I’d taken the piste alongside,” he complained.