Russian athletes’ appeal against IAAF ban upheld


Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) has rejected the appeal filed by the Russian Olympic Committee and the All Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) against IAAF’s verdict to suspend the country’s track and field athletes from Rio Olympics. With the verdict, 68 athletes from Russia stand suspended and things for them could get worse if IOC decides to ban all athletes after the recent Richard McLaren report which highlighted systematic doping in Russian sport.IAAF had suspended Russian athletes on November 13, 2015 after systematic and state sponsored doping efforts came to light in an independent report by Dick Pound. The suspension was confirmed on November 26 and on June 17, 2016.In response, ARAF and ROC, requested CAS to review the validity, enforceability and scope of the decision by IAAF and allow athletes who weren’t under probe to be allowed to compete.IAAF’s statement in response to the CAS verdict read, “The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position.”“Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes. 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.”Sports court says had no jurisdiction to determine whether IOC entitled to accept or refuse the entry to Russians as neutral athletes in RioAdding to the statement, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “While 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 didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s 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.”The Kremlin, in reaction, said it deeply regretted the CAS verdict. “I certainly regret such a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which refers to absolutely all of our athletes (who filed the claims),” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists. “The principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Peskov said.Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko echoed the thoughts expressed by the Kremlin, Interfax news agency reported. “I regret this decision,” the agency quoted Mutko as saying. “Unfortunately, a certain precedent has been established for collective responsibility for doping violations by individual sportspeople.” Mutko said Russian officials will consider what steps to take in the light of the court’s decision, and that things could not be left as they are.

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