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Swiss Court Banned Russia from Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Cup


Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday, December 17, 2020, upheld doping sanctions still prevents Russian athletes without their flag and national anthem from competing in Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, set to be held next year, and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Russia was initially given a four-year ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from the world’s top sporting events.

The Swiss court said the ban will now run until December 16, 2022, meaning Russia is also banned from competing at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2021.

World Athletics said it will decide in March 2021 whether to allow Russian athletes who can prove they are clean to compete as neutral athletes in international athletics competitions.

The governing body has previously said a maximum of 10 Russian track and field athletes will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag at the Tokyo Games, which were postponed to July 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia will be allowed to play at next year’s delayed Euro 2020 tournament because European football’s governing body Uefa is not defined as a “major event organisation” with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.

Wada declared Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

Russia had been told to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

Russian government officials or representatives will be banned from attending events such as the Olympics and world championships in major sports for a two-year period.

Russians will also not be able to be appointed to or sit on committees or serve as board members at organisations that must abide by the WADA code.

WADA had accused Russia of planting fake evidence and of deleting files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Russian authorities, which said before the ruling that they hoped CAS would fully take the country’s interests into account said the inconsistencies in the data were purely technical and not the result of tampering.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would now carefully evaluate what the ruling meant for competitions at the next two Olympic Games and consult with international federations and the International Paralympic Committee on how to implement the CAS decision.

WADA President Witold Banka said the agency was disappointed the court had not endorsed all of its recommendations.

But Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), called the ruling a “weak, watered-down outcome.”

Russia’s doping woes have snowballed since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping among the country’s track and field athletes.

Many Russian athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country was deprived of its flag at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games in southern Russia.

Russia, which has in the past acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping policies deny running a state-sponsored doping programme.

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