Los Angeles, Long distance running guru Alberto Salazar, the former coach ofBritain's four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, has been slappedwith a four-year ban after being found guilty of doping violations. The decision to ban the 61-year-old from the sport comes after afour-year investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency(USADA) and a prolonged battle behind closed doors. USADA also said Jeffrey Brown, a Texas endocrinologist who treatedmany of Salazar's athletes at his Nike-backed Oregon Project, has alsobeen given a four-year suspension. In announcing the bans, USADA praised the athletes for speaking out. "The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out andultimately exposed the truth," said USADA chief executive TravisTygart. "While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr Salazarand Dr Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than thehealth and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect." USADA said in the statement that two, three-member arbitration panelshad determined Salazar and Brown should be banned for "orchestratingand facilitating prohibited doping conduct." The Cuban-born Salazar operates the Nike Oregon Project -- whichfour-time Olympic champion Farah belonged to from 2011 until 2017. Salazar was discovered to have trafficked or attempted to trafficbanned substance testosterone, given athletes a substance in excess ofits permitted limit and tampered with the doping control process ofathletes. "USADA's investigation yielded a wide range of evidence referenced inthe hearing, including eye-witness proof, testimonies, contemporaneousemails, and patient records,"\u00a0USADA said in a news release. "Between the two cases, USADA relied on more than 2,000 exhibits,which the AAA heard along with the defendants' cases. In all, theproceedings included 30 witnesses and 5,780 pages of transcripts."In a statement on the Oregon Project's website, Salazar denied everdoping his athletes. "I am shocked by the outcome today," Salazar said. "Throughout thissix-year investigation my athletes and I have endured unjust,unethical and highly damaging treatment from USADA. "I have always ensured\u00a0the WADA code is strictly followed.\u00a0The OregonProject has never and will never permit doping.\u00a0I will appeal and lookforward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusionI know to be true." Farah left Salazar's camp in 2017 but denied the decision was relatedto Oregon Project doping accusations. The Somalia-born British star, who won back-to-back Olympic 5,000m and10,000m titles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, has repeatedly denied anyknowledge of Salazar's alleged involvement in doping. "I am a firm believer in clean sport and I strongly believe thatanyone who breaks the rules should be punished," Farah said whenannouncing his split with Salazar. "If I had ever had any reason to doubt Alberto, I would not have stoodby him all this time," Farah added. Salazar is believed to be in Doha where several Oregon Projectathletes are competing in the IAAF World Championships. One of Salazar's athletes, the Ethiopian-born Dutch runner SifanHassan, won the women's 10,000m on Saturday and will go for more goldin either the 5,000m or 1,500m.