Court rules against late Rus­sian Games ap­peal

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

FORTY-SEVEN Rus­sians im­pli­cated in dop­ing lost a last­minute court bid to take part in the PyeongChang Win­ter Olympics yes­ter­day, just hours be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony.

The ap­pli­cants, who in­cluded Ko­rean-born speed skater Vic­tor An, had asked the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) to over­turn an In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee de­ci­sion not to in­vite them to South Ko­rea.

“The ap­pli­ca­tions filed by Rus­sian ath­letes and coaches have been dis­missed,” CAS sec­re­tary-gen­eral Matthieu Reeb told a packed news con­fer­ence.

The IOC was swift to wel- come the de­ci­sion, say­ing the rul­ing “sup­ports the fight against dop­ing and brings clar­ity for all ath­letes”.

The Rus­sian sit­u­a­tion has proved highly con­tentious in the build-up to PyeongChang, af­ter their team was banned but a cer­tain num­ber of “clean” Rus­sian ath­letes were al­lowed to take part as neu­trals.

Fif­teen of those who lost their bids yes­ter­day were among a group of 28 who con­tro­ver­sially had life bans from the Olympics over­turned last week by CAS, which cited in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence.

The other 32, in­clud­ing An, biathlon gold medal­list An­ton Ship­ulin and Sergei Ustyu­gov, a cross-coun­try ski­ing world cham­pion, were also omit­ted from the list of Rus­sians in­vited to PyeongChang.

“In its de­ci­sions, the CAS ar­bi­tra­tors have con­sid­ered that the process cre­ated by the IOC to es­tab­lish an in­vi­ta­tion list of Rus­sian ath­letes to com- pete as Olympic Ath­letes from Rus­sia could not be de­scribed as a sanc­tion but rather as an el­i­gi­bil­ity de­ci­sion,” Reeb said.

How­ever, the CAS de­ci­sion may not be the end of the mat­ter. A source close to the IOC said the 47 Rus­sians had also lodged a case with a Swiss civil court in Lau­sanne.

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