German federal court of justice rules against speed skater Pechstein

German speed skater Claudia Pechstein has lost a damages claim at the country's highest civil court against governing skating body ISU.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) Tuesday rejected the claim in connection with a doping-related ban in a ruling which upholds the system of sport jurisdiction in Germany.

Pechstein, 44, argued that athletes should always have recourse through civil courts and not be bound by rulings from sports arbitration panels such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Germany's most decorated winter Olympian with a 5-2-2 medal haul was seeking more than 5 million euros (5.4 million dollars) in damages from the ISU over a two-year ban.

He lawyer said she would now appeal to Germany's constitutional court.

"We are deeply disappointed. That was not the final word," lawyer Thomas Summerer said.

The ISU had appealed to the federal court - Germany's highest court for civil and criminal law - after Pechstein won a ruling by a Munich regional court.

The Munich court had ruled previous arbitration agreements between her and the ISU, including a CAS ruling on the case, to be invalid.

Pechstein was banned for two years in 2009 by the ISU over elevated blood levels in her biological passport, a ruling confirmed by CAS.

She always protested her innocence, and doctors later diagnosed a genetic defect. But the ISU said this did not adequately explain the abnormal levels.

Pechstein had argued that arbitration bodies such as CAS were not fully independent because the judges were chosen by the sports federations.

A ruling in her favour would have called into question the entire system of sport jurisdiction.

Germany's national anti doping agency NADA said it took note of the ruling.

"For us it is important to strengthen confidence in arbitration," it said.

"Independently of the ruling we have already strengthened considerably the rights of athletes in the arbitration process."

Last update: Tue, 07/06/2016 - 11:19
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