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Alpine row deepens as allegations withdrawn

Snowsport Scotland has been accused by the head of Scotland's largest ski club of failing to represent its members properly in the row over the British Olympic Association's decision to turn down places that were available for Alpine competitors at the Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Scot in charge of the British Ski Academy is planning to stage a public meeting this week calling for a vote of no confidence in those running British Snowsport after they sought to justify that decision by falsely accusing ski racers of rigging their world rankings.

Eddie Guest, president of the Scottish Ski Club, claimed Snowsport Scotland has lost touch with its membership after its chairman, Bill Aitken, put his name to a statement on its website on Friday that it later felt forced to withdraw.

Aitken had sought to disown criticisms made by Gordon Ritchie, one of Snowsport Scotland's own directors, of the way skiers had been selected for the Alpine disciplines, as reported in Herald Sport last week.

The statement attributed to Aitken claimed that there had been factual inaccuracies in the Herald Sport article. When contacted about what the alleged inaccuracies had been, Aitken said he did not know, that they had been shown to him on a piece of paper in the office on Friday - which he had not taken home - so he would not be able to explain until the office reopens this morning.

On the same day, however, Ritchie was vindicated in his criticism when it emerged that Paddy Mortimer, British Ski and Snowboard's performance director, had been forced to issue an apology for his false claim that competitors had "blatantly fixed" their world rankings.

Guest wrote to Aitken on Saturday, asking him to justify the position he had outlined in the website statement. "Could you explain the article on the Snowsport Scotland website?" he said. "I fear Snowsport Scotland has lost all representation of its members. I could see no factual errors in it - please let me know exactly what they are."

Aitken's claims about the inaccuracy of Herald Sport's story were removed from Snowsport Scotland's website later on Saturday and he admitted to directors that the organisation had done so as a result of internal pressure.

The criticisms of British Ski and Snowboard have been receiving huge support on social media with Emma Carrick-Anderson, a four-time Olympian now a media commentator, saying: "His claim is ridiculous. Where was I when these so-called 'rigged' races were going on?"

Matters are expected to come to a head at this week's English Alpine Championships, which got under way in Italy yesterday.

Malcolm Erskine, British Ski Academy director, said a public meeting will today discuss the selection issues that have been raised and the governance of the sport. He wants a vote of no confidence to be called into the way British Ski and Snowboard has been running the sport.

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