CAS overturns doping bans on 28 Russian athletes

Friday, 02 Feb, 2018

The world's top sports court has overturned lifetime Olympic bans for 39 Russian athletes in a blow to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) policy following the Russian sports-doping scandal.

"With regard to the participation of athletes from Russian Federation at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the decision of the IOC Executive Board (EB) of 5 December 2017 remains in place".

A "partial" ruling for 11 other Russian athletes indicates that they will have to sit out on the Olympics in South Korea set to start on February 9, but will not be banned from the Olympics for life.

More than 1,000 Russian summer and winter Olympic athletes reportedly benefited from state-sponsored doping.

"I hope that this page will be turned, and moreover, in the very near future", the Russian president told a gathering of his supporters in Moscow ahead of March's presidential election.

The IOC a year ago banned 43 Russians for life from the Games and disqualified them from Sochi 2014 due to organised doping practices there, including the tampering with samples and sample-swapping.

In addition to clearing the 28, CAS also lifted the life bans of another 11 Russians but barred them from competing at Pyeongchang.

"The CAS decisions today prove that many of those who have been accused are in fact clean athletes", he added.

The timing of the ruling could allow some of the athletes to compete in this month's Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

I sincerely wish you success and victories..."We also expect that our colleagues in global sports organizations will do their best to see that these worldwide organizations, sports unions don't turn into departments of state agencies of certain countries, no matter how powerful and important these states would seem at first sight". Appeals of 11 others are partially upheld.

"It is a hard question", the Kremlin spokesman added, noting Russian officials would continue talking to the IOC.

The IOC confirmed that because it had suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in December after evidence emerged of widespread doping, Russian athletes could only participate with its permission.

Russian Federation and the athletes always dismissed the allegations, made in reports by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren, with the former chief of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, acting as a key whistleblower.

The Russian team initially won 33 medals in Sochi, including 13 golds, to put it ahead of Norway and Canada but they slipped to fourth after the IOC-imposed sanctions.

Jim Walden, lawyer for Dr Rodchenkol, issued a statement on Thursday that read: "Dr Rodchenkov testified fully and credibly at Cas".