Russia fails in appeal against its exclusion from Paralympics

Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Tuesday that Russia’s ban has been upheld

Russia have failed in their appeal against Paralympic ban. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Russia have failed in their appeal against Paralympic ban. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

 

Russia has failed in an appeal against its exclusion from the Rio Paralympic Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) challenged its suspension, which was imposed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on August 7th in the wake of a damning report into the country’s state-run doping programme.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found that the decision was justified, meaning Russia will not be represented in the upcoming Games at Rio 2016.

CAS said in a statement: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed the appeal filed by the Russian Paralympic Committee against the decision rendered by governing board of the International Paralympic Committee on 7th August 2016. As a consequence, the IPC decision is confirmed.”

IPC president Philip Craven had described a “medals over morals mentality that disgusts me” when he initially announced that the entire Russian team would be banned from the Paralympics, which runs from September 7-18th.

“The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport,” Craven added at the time. “It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport.

“Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sports, and has certainly resulted in a devastating outcome for the Russian Paralympic Committee and Para athletes.”

CAS upheld the IPC’s blanket ban, ruling that the RPC had failed to provide any evidence which challenged the facts of the initial decision.

The CAS statement continued: “Following revelations related to the doping system in Russia, the IPC governing board suspended the RPC from IPC membership due to its alleged inability to fulfil its responsibilities and obligations to comply with the IPC anti-doping code and the world anti-doping code.

“The CAS panel in charge of this matter found that the IPC did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the disciplinary process leading to the RPC’s suspension and that the decision to ban the RPC was made in accordance with the IPC rules and was proportionate in the circumstances.

“The panel also noted that the RPC did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based.”

Craven’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) counterpart Thomas Bach decided against such a tough stance, describing it as “the nuclear option”, and Russia were able to send 278 athletes to Brazil for the Olympics after individual federations were left to rule on eligibility.

The Paralympics’ later start date also gave the IPC more time than the IOC to digest Richard McLaren’s landmark report for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

McLaren was able to reveal even more cases from Paralympic sport than he listed in his preliminary report, and once the IPC had examined the Canadian’s evidence, it was able to see that positive drug tests by 11 Russian athletes were covered up by the Moscow anti-doping laboratory at the behest of the Russian ministry of sport between 2012-15.

A further 18 samples were tampered with at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, where Russia won almost half of the gold medals on offer.

Craven said McLaren had made it clear that more cases are likely to be unearthed, prompting the IPC to reanalyse every sample from a Russian athlete at the Sochi Games.

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