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Russian sports chief wants athletes guilty of doping abuse to return prize money

March 24, 20:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Six Russian field and track athletes were stripped of all their titles and medals they won between 2009 and 2013, including one gold and one silver medals of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. A procedure of returning prize money by athletes, who were found guilty of doping abuse, should be fixed legally, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Thursday.

"The issue of annulment of results will be considered," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "We now need to establish a system at the legal and organizational levels since a similar system in the global sports is not well regulated."

"The return of prize money is usually voluntarily," he said. "What I can do today is to summon an athlete and only to ask her to return the money. We need to think how to make this procedure law-obliging."

"I believe it is possible that we will adopt such measures and they will be stipulated by the law. We need to think everything over," the minister added.

Decision on Russia’s titled athletes creates global precedent

According to the minister, the decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne in regard to six Russian athletes will create a new legal precedent, which may affect all international athletes.

"The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne created a new legal precedent," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "The matter is that all issues concerning biological passports are very complicated."

"An athlete is monitored for two years and during this period the so-called peaks are registered and they should not exceed the permitted levels," he said. "An athlete used to be responsible for each given peak."

‘What we have now is a new precedent, when all results annulled beginning of a suspension term," the Russian sports minister said. "I do not know whether it is fair or not, but it was a decision made by the court and it will affect athletes from all countries."

The Russian sports minister added that Thursday’s decision of the CAS "makes athletes more vulnerable."

Six Russian field and track athletes were stripped of all their titles and medals they won between 2009 and 2013, including one gold and one silver medals of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, for anti-doping rules violations.

The decision was made following a ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, which on Thursday upheld an appeal from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) against six Russian athletes and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

Six Russians in the case are titled field and trackers Sergey Kirdyapkin, Sergey Bakulin, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Vladimir Kanaikin and Yulia Zaripova.

In March 2015 the IAAF announced its disagreement with RUSADA’s decision to suspend a a group of Russian athletes for doping-related violations selectively annulling results of the field and trackers at the issue. The IAAF insisted that all results of the banned athletes must be annulled beginning from the start of their suspensions and filed an appeal with the CAS against RUSADA’s decision.

The CAS viewed the appeal on Thursday and stated in its subsequent ruling: "The IAAF challenged what it felt was a "selective" disqualification of results, submitting that all results achieved by the athletes from the date of their first abnormal sample to the date they accepted a provisional suspension should be disqualified."

"In each case, the appeal filed by the IAAF has been upheld and the decision issued by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for each athlete has been modified."

Among the annulled results on Thursday are the 2012 Olympic gold in men’s 50 km walk, won by Kirdyapkin and the 2012 Olympic silver in women’s 20 km walk, won by Kaniskina. Race walker Sergey Bakulin and runner Yulia Zaripova were deprived of their gold medals of the 2011 IAAF World Championship.

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