CAS dismisses Russians' appeal against Olympics ban
The Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refusing to invite them to participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
CAS has "dismissed the application filed on 6 February 2018 by 32 Russian athletes against the International Olympic Committee. It has also dismissed the application filed on 7 February 2018 by 15 Russian athletes and coaches against the IOC," the court said in a statement in conclusion of the review.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced that Russian athletes and coaches failed to demonstrate that the International Olympic Committee had discriminated against them. "The CAS Panel found that the Applicants did not demonstrate that the manner in which the two special commissions (the Invitation Review Panel (IRP) and the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OAR IG) independently evaluated the Applicants was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner," it said in a press release.
The IOC welcomes the decision of the Ad hoc Division of the CAS. "We welcome the decision, it has been taken in a spirit of fighting against doping and makes it clear for remaining athletes," the statement says.
The decision of the CAS on Russian athletes could not have been different due to the IOC's inviting procedure, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said.
"The inviting formula is extremely difficult to challenge, regardless of whether violations existed. The procedure itself is not transparent and does not contribute to the authority of the organization in the fans’ opinion," TASS cited Mutko as saying.
"The procedure of inviting or not inviting is similar those of a commercial private club tournament. But those are the Olympic Games at the end of the day. This all will diminish competition and attention to the Games," he added.
According to Deputy PM, it will be difficult for the young Russian team to compete at the upcoming Games in PyeongChang. "Without leaders it will be difficult for them, the competitive environment is small. It is necessary to focus on supporting the team. The key thing for organizers is to avoid the temptation to strengthen themselves regarding further defamation of athletes during the Games, to ensure equal attitude to all," he noted.
Speaking of rejected athletes, Mutko said that they will be backed up. "They have many starts ahead, and they will have the chance to fulfill their potential," the Vice PM concluded.
The decision made by the CAS that denied the appeals of Russian athletes to be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games is "purely political," the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said.
"The CAS’ decision to acquit, but not to admit, the Russian athletes to the Olympics is purely political. I have no doubt that it was taken under the pressure of the IOC…," the senator wrote on Facebook.
He advised the athletes not to give up and continue to fight for their rights. "To address all possible organizations to protect people’s honor and dignity and protect the country’s flag and hymn. This is a situation in which, when all other variants are exhausted (and this is highly probable, unfortunately), it will be necessary to address the European Court of Human Rights," Kosachev stressed.
A creative producer and the host of Vesti FM, Gia Saralidze, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that these Olympic Games have ceased to be a sports holiday for Russia, because it was not allowed to the competition. "For us, for the country, for the fans, these Olympic Games have not started, it only started for athletes in the status of 'athletes from Russia'. I will not follow these Olympic Games, because my country does not participate in it, and I do not care how many medals will be won by athletes from Russia. It is discrimination based on nationality, place of birth and citizenship, I take it this way," he stressed.
The member of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva, noted that in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, sport fell victim to politics. "I think that if we decided to act in such a neutral state, we should fully focus on the performance. I will fully support every athlete, support each medal. Even if there are no medals, but a worthy performance, I will be happy, because these are our athletes," she said.
"Of course, the Olympic Movement needs to be rethought. Perhaps it is worth disbanding the CAS and appealing to ordinary civil courts. If we are talking about the transparency, it could be be better for our RUSADA to come to the US or to other countries and to test our athletes there, and foreigners can come to us. We need to decide what to do with therapeutic exceptions for the use of prohibited medicines - if athletes are sick, let them be treated, instead of competing, and if no threat to lives exists there should be no exceptions," Tatyana Lebedeva said.