CAS upholds ban of Russian track and field team from Rio – USA TODAY
The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Thursday that it has rejected the claims and appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 athletes who had challenged a ban from the track federation that would keep the country from competing in Rio.
CAS announced the decision in a one-sentence release on its website.
The athletes and ROC had challenged a ban by the International Association of Athletics Federations in June that will keep the team from going to the Summer Olympics.
The IAAF in June extended a ban that has been in place since November, when a report from a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission revealed widespread doping in Russian athletics. In banning the Russian team through Rio, the IAAF relied on its taskforceâs findings that the All-Russia Athletics Federation had not met enough of the verification criteria showing a change in the doping culture to warrant reinstatement.
As part of the IAAF decision, it created a rule change to allow some Russian athletes to apply for exceptional eligibility to compete in Rio. Those athletes would have to showÂ that they had been subject to effective anti-doping control systems in other countries and that they had not been tainted by the Russian system.
The IAAF said then that it expected only a few athletes to meet that criteria and that any athletes whoÂ did would compete as neutral athletes in Rio rather than under the Russian flag.
âWhile we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements. I didnât come into this sport to stop athletes from competing,â IAAFâs president Sebastien Coe said in a statement. âIt is our federationâs instinctive desire to include, not exclude. Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”
So far, the IAAF has only granted exceptional eligibility to 800-meter runner Yuliya Stepanova, the whistleblower who provided much of the evidence in the investigation, and long jumper Darya Klishina, who trains in Florida.Â The IAAF said it had received 136 applications from Russian athletes earlier this month.
The CAS decision comes amid calls from athletes and anti-doping officials for the IOC to ban all Russian athletesÂ from the Rio Olympics following the release of another WADA report this week that revealed even more widespread doping issues than previously known.
Following the report, president Thomas Bach said the IOC âwill not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions availableâ against individuals or organizations implicated in the McLaren report. The IOC said it is exploring legal options for a ban of Russia entirely from the upcoming Olympics but wanted to consider the CAS decision.
The decision could now pave the way for the IOC to similarly ban the Russian delegation entirely while creating a review process that could allow some Russian athletes who could demonstrate their anti-doping record met certain criteria to compete in Rio. Since the IAAF extended its ban in June, the IOC has said it would try to find the balance between collective responsibility and individual justice.
Still to be resolved is under which flag any Russians would compete under. In making its rule change, the IAAF asserted that any athletes who receive exceptional eligibility would compete as neutral athletes. Bach has said they would compete under the Russian flag.
The CAS decision likely gives the IOC framework for how it could proceed, but, whatever decision it would make must come quickly, as the Games open on Aug. 5.
ROC president Alexander Zhukov told theÂ Associated PressÂ that he expects a decision on Sunday.
Calls for a ban of Russia have intensified since Monday, whenÂ Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren released a report that confirmed allegations of doping and tampering with samples during the Sochi Olympics and revealed a larger system of covering up positive tests of doped Russian athletes that reached the highest levels of sport.
Termed the Disappearing Positive Methodology, the system revealed in the report included the Ministry of Sport, Center of Sports Preparation of the National Teams of Russia (CSP), Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Moscow and Sochi labs working in coordination from 2011 to 2015 to cover up 643 positive tests of athletes across 29 Olympic sports.
The system was led by Yury Nagognykh, the deputy sports minister and a member of the Russian Olympic Committeeâs executive board, and included several top Russian sports officials.
The McLaren report confirmed allegations that Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of the Moscow lab, made about the FSB helping cover up doping at the Sochi Games by unsealing bottles previously thought to be tamperproof to allow Rodchenkov to swap out dirty urine for clean urine.
On Wednesday, anti-doping leaders from 14 countries called upon Bach and the IOC to ban Russia immediately. The letter was signed by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart as well as the heads of nine European national anti-doping organizations.
Following the release of the McLaren report, WADA and the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations (iNADO) also called for a ban of Russia.