The German doctor at the center of a ring that helped athletes to make blood transfusions in a bid to enhance their performance at competitions has been jailed for four years and eight months by a Munich court.

Mark Schmidt went on trial last year before being found guilty of 24 charges, including using doping methods and supplying athletes with prohibited drugs.

Along with the jail term, the doctor was slapped with an additional three-year ban from practicing medicine, as well as a fine of $191,000.

The scandal erupted almost two years ago when Austrian police raided the Nordic Ski World Championships in February 2019 and arrested several top athletes hours before the race.

Danilo Hondo today stated in court that he started doping with Mark Schmidt in Winter 2011. He incriminates Petacchi of doping with him in their hotel room throughout the 2012 season. Until now Petacchi denied doping with Schmidt. @faustocoppi60@BenjiNaesen#OperationAderlass

Schmidt admitted his guilt but insisted he hadn’t organized an illegal doping ring, claiming he had only met the demand of athletes who requested performance-enhancing medicine.

He apologized last week for involving four other co-defendants in the scandal who were given suspended sentences by the court.

I took a wrong turn – it’s all my fault,” Schmidt said. “I am infinitely sorry that I dragged the other four into it.”

He is the first active physician in Germany to receive a significant jail sentence for doping offences.