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CAS Overturns IOC Sanctions vs 28 Russian Athletes but Upholds 11 Bans – Sochi 2014 Results Reinstated

by Ron Johnson

February 01, 2018 (Switzerland) – In a stunning reversal the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has overturned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctions against 28 Russian athletes on Feb. 1 while upholding the sanctions against 11 Russian athletes.

Included in the group of 28 Russian athletes whose sanctions were lifted are cross-country skiers Evgeniy Belov, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Nikita Kriukov, Alexander Legkov, Natalia Matveeva, Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, and Maxim Vylegzhanin.

Russians Julia Ivanova, Yulia Chekaleva and Anastasia Dotsenko are among the 11 banned from competing in PyeongChang but the CAS did remove their lifetime ban clearing the way for possible participation in future Olympic competitions.

The sanctions stem from anti-doping rule violations in relation to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. In its press release, CAS explained that in these cases the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned. In addition, these 28 athletes will also have their individual results from Sochi 2014 reinstated.

The athletes may appear one step closer to competing in PyeongChang, but the International Olympic Committee still has the final say regarding participation, and if the IOC statement following the decision is any indication, the  granting of permission for the Russian athletes to compete is far from guaranteed.

“The result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games. Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation,” stated the IOC in a press release on Feb. 1.

The verdict will go down as a major defeat for the IOC at CAS reports Inside the Games.

“The IOC regrets very much that – according to the CAS press release – the panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases. The CAS required an even higher threshold on the necessary level of evidence than the Oswald Commission and former CAS decisions,” explained the IOC.

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

Beyond participating at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the International Ski Federation (FIS) acknowledged the ruling stating that it would fully respect the decision of the CAS and confirmed that the Russian athletes would have their FIS suspensions lifted.

“For future FIS competitions, including the World Cup, FIS has lifted the current provisional suspensions for the following athletes based on today’s decision: Evgeniy Belov, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Nikita Kriukov, Alexander Legkov, Natalia Matveeva, Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Maxim Vylegzhanin,” stated FIS in a press release.

To reach its findings, CAS appointed arbitral panels for each procedure composed of Prof. Christoph Vedder (Germany), President, Dr Dirk-Reiner Martens (Germany), and Dr Hamid Gharavi (France/Iran) for one group of procedures and Prof. Michael Geistlinger (Austria) for the second group of procedures.

The hearings for three Russian biathletes were postponed until after the Winter Olympic Games.

CAS Ruling here.
IOC Statement here.
Inside the Games here.

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