CAS reinstates Russian athletes banned by IOC

Photo: american rugbier/Flickr

Photo: american rugbier/Flickr


By Stine Alvad
28 of the 42 appeals of IOC’s ban on Russian athletes will be upheld, said a CAS decision issued today. The athletes in question are not automatically invited to participate in the upcoming Pyeongchang Games, says the IOC.

According to a decision released today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld 28 of 42 appeals from Russian athletes against IOC lifetime suspensions based on the report from the Oswald Commission as well as the McLaren reports into systematic Russian doping violations during the Sochi Games 2014.

According to the statement from CAS, the sports court found “that the evidence put forward by the IOC in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case”.

“In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned. With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated,” the CAS decision continues.

In total, CAS has received appeals from 42 Russian athletes, 28 of which have been ruled in favour of with today’s decision. Three of the cases have not yet been ruled on while the remaining 11 athletes have been found to have violated the doping rules. But instead of the lifetime ban imposed on the athletes by the IOC, CAS rules that the 11 athletes will only be ineligible for the Pyeongchang Games.

"This does not mean that the 28 athletes are declared innocent, but due to insufficient evidence the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their results in Sochi are reinstated," said CAS secretary General Matthieu Reeb at a press conference, adding that the individual claims of doiping were only “circumstantial”, writes the BBC.

"It is a matter where there is no direct evidence, such as positive test or a voluntary admission,” said Reeb.

According to Russian news site Sputnik, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko welcomed the CAS decision saying that he had no doubt their medals were won fairly. And in a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he was "very happy" with the decision, writes the CNN.

"This information about the CAS decision regarding our athletes confirms that active efforts to protect their rights in courts and in other ways are justified, they can be effective and they must continue," Peskov said.“

Although no longer banned, the 28 athletes cannot be sure to be competing in South Korea, says the IOC in a statement issued on the CAS decision, regretting that the systemic violations found in 11 of the cases examined where not taken into consideration for the rest.

"This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping. Therefore, the IOC will analyse the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal,” the IOC statement says.

So far, only the decision to uphold the appeals has been released and not the grounds that lie behind the decision.

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