Alberto Salazar ‘shocked’ by ban as Farah’s former coach plans appeal

Alberto Salazar released a statement in response to Monday’s suspension handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Alberto Salazar said he is “shocked” by his four-year athletics suspension for multiple anti-doping violations, which Mo Farah’s former coach intends to appeal.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced the suspension on Monday, with Salazar and Dr Jeffrey Brown sanctioned for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct while acting, respectively, as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project [NOP] and as a paid consultant for the NOP on performance enhancement and as physician for numerous athletes in the NOP”.

Salazar worked with long-distance star Farah from 2011 until 2017, a period in which the British runner won four Olympic gold medals.

Two independent three-member panels of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) found Salazar and Brown “possessed and trafficked a banned performance-enhancing substance and administered or attempted to administer a prohibited method to multiple track and field athletes”, while the panel also found that both “committed tampering and complicity violations”.

Salazar released a statement in response, which read: “I am shocked by the outcome today. Throughout this six-year investigation my athletes and I have endured unjust, unethical and highly damaging treatment from USADA.

“This is demonstrated by the misleading statement released by Travis Tygart stating that we put winning ahead of athlete safety.

“This is completely false and contrary to the findings of the arbitrators, who even wrote about the care I took in complying with the World Anti-Doping code:

“‘The panel notes that the respondent does not appear to have been motivated by any bad intention to commit the violations the panel found. In fact, the panel was struck by the amount of care generally taken by respondent to ensure that whatever new technique or method or substance he was going to try was lawful under the World Anti-Doping Code, with USADA’s witness characterizing him as the coach they heard from the most with respect to trying to ensure that he was complying with his obligations’.

“I have always ensured the WADA code is strictly followed. The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping. I will appeal and look forward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusion I know to be true. I will not be commenting further at this time.”