March 19 - SportAccord's director of social responsibility and integrity units Ingrid Beutler has come out in support for her organisation's President Hein Verbruggen in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that has rocked the world of sport to the core.
The 71-year-old Verbruggen, a former President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), is due to step down from his role at SportAccord at this year's convention in St Petersburg, despite being re-elected for another four-year term in 2011, which would have seen him remain in office until 2015.
The Dutchman is currently facing allegations that he was central to the cover-up that allowed Armstrong to dope during all seven of his Tour de France victories - an accusation he vehemently denies.
Beutler insists that this is not the reason for his departure from the global sport organisation.
"He decided two years ago that he would finish his term [as SportAccord President], he decided he will finish two years into his term," she said here after speaking on a panel at the conference organised by the International Centre for Sport Security.
"It was decision that was made well before the Armstrong case."
However, Beutler admits the scandal has had a "massive" effect on the Dutchman.
"The amount of negative publicity has demolished his reputation," she revealed.
"I cannot make any comments on whether he has been involved, of course we can only know that through a court of law.
"But, yes, it has seriously affected him."
Beutler went on to offer her full support to Verbruggen saying that he had helped her perform her role effectively in tackling crime in sport.
"Under the Presidency of Verbruggen the organisation has been able to move forward in a way that perhaps would not have been possible under any other Presidency," she said.
"I came in two years ago, he gave me a clean slate to tackle the problems the sports movement is confronting, identified match-fixing and governances - two key issues that needed addressing and I've had the liberty and the freedom to tackle those issues.
"I'm thankful for the leadership he has provided, despite what has happened in the past."
Asked if she trusted Verbruggen, Beutler answered with conviction: "Yes".
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February 2013: Exclusive - Verbruggen writes to top IOC members to deny involvement in Armstrong cover-up