Russia will not be able to use its name, flag and it’s national anthem at the next two Olympics or even at any world championships for the next two years. This was after a ruling Thursday done by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The court which is Lausanne-based had decreased the four-year ban to half of it that was first proposed last year by the World Anti-Doping Agency in a case that accused Russia of state-ordered and tampering of a testing laboratory database done in Moscow. This ruling also blocked Russia from bidding to host the major sporting events for the next two years.
Russian athletes and the Russian teams will still be allowed to play and compete in the next year’s Tokyo Olympics and also at the 2022 Winter Games which is held in Beijing. They will also be allowed to play at the world championships including the 2022 World Cup that is going to be held in Qatar, only if they are not implicated in doping or having positive tests.
One win for Russia is the proposed team name at all the major events. The name “Russia” can continue to have their names on uniforms if the words “Neutral Athlete” or similar like “Neutral Team” have equal importance, the court said. The burden of proof was more towards the WADA when it came for their history being examined for the selection to the Olympics or any other sporting events.
Russian athletes and their teams can also continue to have the national flag colors of red, white and blue in their uniforms at the major events. The three judges of the court had imposed the most severe penalties on Russia since the allegations of state-backed doping and about the cover-ups came out after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Witold Bańka who is the president of WADA hailed the court’s decision even though the ban being cut to two years. He said that the CAS panel has clearly got their findings and that the Russian authorities had illegally manipulated the Moscow Laboratory data in an effort to try and cover up an established doping scheme.
The case got centered on the accusations that Russian state agencies had altered, edited and deleted the parts of the database even before handing it over to WADA investigators last year in 2019. The data contained evidence to prosecute the long-standing doping violations.
The CAS process was formally between the WADA and the Russian anti-doping agency. The one which refused to accept the last year’s four-year ban. Rusada, The Russian agency, was ruled non-compliant last year. A decision which was supported by the three judges on Thursday. Rusada was also told and ordered to pay an amount of $1.27 million to WADA.
The judges said that the186-page ruling is expected to be published in the upcoming few weeks. The Russian agency can appeal the sanctions to the Swiss supreme court which is situated in Lausanne. A four-day hearing was held in Lausanne last month in this year, at that time the Russian athletes and their lawyers took part as third parties for arguing that they should not be punished for misconduct that was done by the state officials who are not working in sports.
WADA investigators who are back in Moscow gradually got the data a month late. Evidence of the doping tests and emails seemed to have been deleted or changed. Although, the ruling allows Russian government officials, including the President Vladimir Putin to go and attend the sporting events only if they are called and invited by the host nation’s head of state.
The investigators from WADA went to Moscow two years back in order to collect the database and start verifying the evidence that would help sports governing bodies to prosecute suspected doping violations that was dating back several years ago.
Although Russia would be removed from hosting world championships in the next two years, events can be cancelled or postponed. The Governing bodies and the people have also been told and advised to find a new host unless it is legally or practically impossible to do.