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Russia Banned From Olympics And Major International Events For Two Years

T
he Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has halved the ban of Russian athletes competing at major international events under the country’s flag or name from four years to two years.

This means Russian athletes will still be allowed to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and various world championships over the next two years.

The CAS ruled Russian athletes who have not been found guilty of doping or covering up doping test results must compete in uniforms with the words ‘Neutral Athlete’, or ‘Neutral Team’, and will not be permitted to use the Russian flag or national anthem.

As part of the ban, Russian Government officials and representatives will not be permitted to attend any major international sporting events for the two-year period ending December 16, 2022.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, Witold Banka, said the agency believed the initial four-year ban they recommended to CAS should have been upheld.

“Wada is pleased to have won this landmark case,” Banka said.

“We left no stone unturned in investigating this very complex matter and in presenting our case before CAS.

“The panel has clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalised doping scheme.

“In the face of continual resistance and denial from Russia, we clearly proved our case, in accordance with due process.

“In that regard, this ruling is an important moment for clean sport and athletes all over the world.

“We believe [the initial four-year ban recommendations] were proportionate and reasonable but ultimately WADA is not the judge but the prosecutor and we must respect the decision of the panel,” he said.

In response to the decision, Russian Olympic Committee president, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, said the CAS did not take Russia’s interests into account.

“We don’t welcome the decision to partially fulfill WADA’s demand for depriving RUSADA of the status of abidance by the world anti-doping code,” Pozdnyakov said.

“Our stance is initially based on the lack of grounds for fully or partially penalising RUSADA and sanctions towards any of the participants in the process as a result.

“The most important result of our collaborative effort is the fact that CAS hasn’t extended its support for WADA in applying measures of collective accountability and refused to introduce additional participation criteria for Russian athletes at the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, and world championships,” he said.

In delivering its decision, the panel of the CAS hearing said: “This panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance and to ensure that the integrity of sport against the scourge of doping is maintained.”

“The consequences which the panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by Wada.

“This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA or the Russian authorities.

“In making its orders, the panel is limited by the powers granted under the applicable law.

“It has considered matters of proportionality and, in particular, the need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes to participate in clean international sport,” the panel, which consisted of three judges, said.