(Reuters) - Azerbaijan's weightlifting body has been fined $500,000 (300,230 pounds) after nine lifters tested positive last year, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said in a statement.
The governing body said the Azeri federation has been given six months to pay up and until the fine is paid in full the Caspian country would not be eligible to participate in the IWF events.
"True to its firm stance against the use of doping, the IWF executive board unanimously decided to sanction the Azerbaijan Weightlifting Federation whose athletes produced multiple adverse analytical findings in 2013," the IWF said.
Zulfugar Suleymanov, who won bronze medal in the 62-kg category at the European championship in Tirana last year, was given a life ban by the international body following a second doping offence in 2010.
Another four male and an equal number of female lifters were handed two-year bans.
The IWF said all of them tested positive for Dehydromethyltestosterone, a synthetic anabolic steroid with low androgenic effects and little pregestational activity.
(Writing by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)