Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko called it "a subjective and somewhat politicized decision for which there is no legal basis."

Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects Russian appeal against IAAF doping banTabercil via Wikimedia Commons
news Rio Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 17:41

World sports' top appeals court throws out a Russian bid to overturn its track and field ban. Still, the final call on which Russians - if any - go to Rio rests with the International Olympic Committee.

The Court of Abitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday upheld the ban against Russia's athletics federation - but was careful to stress that it could not decide what this would mean for next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The ruling upheld the stance of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), namely that Russia's track and field federation (the ARAF) cannot name athletes to compete at Rio. Russian athletes that have demonstrated they are clean to the international authorities, however, could be nominated for competition in Rio by Russia's Olympic federation (the ROC).

"As a consequence, the CAS Panel confirmed that the ROC is not entitled to nominate Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games considering that they are not eligible to participate under the IAAF competition rules," the CAS ruling said. Yet its next sentence pointed out that Russia could still nominate individual athletes who had demonstrated to international doping monitors that they were clean. Legally, they could then compete under the ROC's colors, but not as part of the suspendended ARAF athletics federation.

Swift condemnation from Russia

Russia decried the ruling soon after it was issued, with Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko calling it "a subjective and somewhat politicized decision for which there is no legal basis." Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that Russia did not consider "the idea of collective responsibility" to be an acceptable form of punishment. "We can only express deep regret," Putin's spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the IAAF welcomed the decision, although its president, Seb Coe, said that "this is not a day for triumphant statements" despite being thankful that the CAS had supported "our rules and our power to uphold our rules."

"I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation's instinctive desire to include, not exclude. Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition," Coe sad.

(This article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.)

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