LAUSANNE: International ski federation FIS has settled a defamation claim by pop violinist Vanessa-Mae, who it wrongly alleged had qualified for the 2014 winter Olympic Games through fixed races.

The FIS has announced said it had apologised and made an “appropriate payment” to the musician and her entourage “did not in any way fix, contrive or improperly influence the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect” of qualifying races held in Slovenia.

The federation said in a statement: “FIS accepts that the statements made about Ms Vanakorn’s conduct at the Krvavec races were unjustified and unreservedly withdraws them. In settlement of Ms Vanakorn’s claim for damages for defamation, FIS has apologised and has made an appropriate payment to Ms Vanakorn which she intends to pay to a charity of her choice.”

Last June the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared Vanessa-Mae of allegations she helped to fix Alpine skiing races in order to qualify for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, with the celebrity musician stating the verdict had exposed a “sham investigation” undertaken by the FIS.

The FIS in November 2014 issued bans to Vanessa-Mae and five officials for competition fixing offences at the Slovenian event leading up to Sochi 2014. The pop violinist competed in Sochi for Thailand under her father’s surname Vanakorn and her presence on the slopes in Russia garnered huge attention from the world’s media, despite her poor performance against the elite of women’s skiing.

Following its investigation, the FIS issued Vanessa-Mae with a four-year ban from participation in any FIS-sanctioned events worldwide. However, CAS overturned this ban. The CAS judging panel said “a number of irregularities had occurred in the organisation and management of the four races” in January 2014. However, the court said there was no direct evidence to implicate Vanessa-Mae in fixing.

CAS did uphold the ruling that Vanessa-Mae should have been ineligible for the 2014 Games because the qualifying events in Slovenia were “so defective.”


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