RUSSIA’s track and field athletes were last night banned from the Olympics and the entire Russian squad could swiftly follow them out the door.
The pressure on Olympic officials to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics became white hot last night following a landmark decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A CAS hearing dismissed a Russian appeal against a ban imposed by athletics governing body the IAAF over state-run doping, barring the country’s track and field team from the Rio Games.
The International Olympic Committee had said the CAS ruling will help shape its decision on whether to ban Russia entirely from Rio.
That verdict will be handed down Monday morning following a hearing on Sunday.
Had the appeal been upheld the IOC privately admitted it would have found it near impossible to ban the Russians.
But with a world-wide push now calling for Russia to be banned the IOC seemingly has the pathway to make what would be one of the most significant decisions in Olympic history.
If Russia are not banned from the Games the sporting world can expect to react with instant outrage which could soil the Games.
“The CAS Panel has confirmed the validity of the IAAF’s decision to apply Rules…which state that athletes whose national federation is suspended by the IAAF are ineligible for competitions held under the IAAF Rules,” a statement from the Lausanne based court said.
The Kremlin on Thursday expressed “deep regret” over a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissing a Russian appeal against a ban over doping that bars the country’s track and field team from the Rio Games.
“The idea of collective responsibility from our point of view can hardly be considered acceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “We can only express deep regret.”
Athletics’ governing body the IAAF has welcomed sports court CAS’s rejection of Russia’s doping appeal, declaring Thursday’s ruling “has created a level playing field for athletes”.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict barred 67 Russian athletes from competing at the Olympic Games starting on August 5.
“The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition,” the IAAF statement read.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe cautioned that while he welcomed the verdict, “this is not a day for triumphant statements.
The International Olympic Committee had said the CAS ruling will help shape its decision on whether to ban Russia entirely from the Rio Games.
The IOC is examining the legal options of a blanket ban following a report by WADA investigator Richard McLaren that accused Russia’s sports ministry of overseeing doping of athletes. McLaren’s report uncovered a state-run doping scheme that implicated 28 sports, both summer and winter, and ran from 2011 to 2015. The investigation told of 312 positive tests that Russia’s deputy minister of sport directed lab workers not to report to WADA. Russia’s intelligence serve was also involved, the report said.
It also provided further details of the swapping of samples to protect Russian dopers, including medalists, at the Sochi Games.