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IOC to decide on Russia’s participation at 2016 Olympics on July 24

July 21, 13:26 UTC+3
Russian Olympic Committee postpones national team’s farewell ceremony to 2016 Rio
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© EPA/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. . The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will discuss the issue of the Russian Olympic team’s participation at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil on Sunday, July 24, France Presse news agency reported on Thursday citing the IOC press service.

The IOC will take into account today’s ruling passed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) when it will be deciding on the admission of Russian athletes to the Summer Games.

"The IOC takes note of the announcement of the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport," the statement said. The IOC Executive Board to decide on Russia’s participation at 2016 Olympics on July 24. 

"We will now have to study and analyze the full decision," according to the statement. "The IOC decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days."

Earlier in the day CAS turned down the appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 national athletes against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), thus closing the doors for Russian field and track athletes to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

The final decision on the admission of Russian athletes to the 2016 Olympics, due to kick off early next month, is yet to be made by the IOC Executive Board.

IAAF hails CAS ruling to bar Russian field and track athletes

The International Association of Athletics Federations announced on Thursday it welcomed the ruling passed by the CAS.

"The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position," IAAF said in its statement.

"Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes," the statement said. "The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition."

Commenting on the Swiss court’s ruling, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: ""While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements."

"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 added.

Russian Olympic Committee postpones national team’s farewell ceremony to 2016 Rio

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has postponed indefinitely the national Olympic team’s farewell ceremony for 2016 Summer Games in Brazil from July 22, Igor Kazikov, the head of the Russian Rio 2016 Olympic delegation, told TASS on Thursday.

"The farewell ceremony was not cancelled, but postponed from July 22," Kazikov said in an interview with TASS. "We will announce the new date later."

Russian field and track athletes must turn to civil courts

Valentin Balakhnichev, the former president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), said Russian field and track athletes must file appeals with civil courts against their blanket ban from the participation in the 2016 Games.

"Lawsuits should have been submitted to civil courts long ago and simultaneously [with CAS appeal]," Balakhnichev said in an interview with TASS. "How could they ban from the Olympics Isinbayeva, Shubenkov or Kuchin? The athletes must turn now to civil courts."

CAS verdict represents a political precedent, he added. "Such cases happened in other countries as well. Kenya, Jamaica, Great Britain also had doping problems, but only Russian athletes were banned from the Games," Balakhnichev noted.

He added that Russia can organize alternative field and track tournaments during 2016 Rio.

"We are in fact returning back to 1984," Balakhnichev said in an interview with TASS. "There will be definitely alternative competitions although there are no other countries at the moment banned due to political reasons but the competitions may be international and not under the IOC patronage."

"Will there be any other country to support us?" he said. "It is possible."

In 1984, the Soviet Union boycotted the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and organized alternative competitions Druzhba-84 (Friendship-84) in June-September of that year. Nine countries from the so-called ‘socialist camp’ took part in the tournament, namely the USSR, Bulgaria, Hungary, GDR, North Korea, Cuba, Mongolia, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

 CAS decision violates Olympic Charter principles

 Sports attorney Artyom Patsev stressed the CAS’ ruling has nothing to do with the Olympic Charter fundamental principles. These principles were violated already by the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). And now they have upheld it," the attorney said.

"I don’t understand how the athletes have to act as the fundamental principles are being breached," the attorney said.

"A civil court? It is necessary to look at the full text of the CAS ruling to see if there are clues there," he added.

When asked about a decision that should be expected from the International Olympic Committee on Russian athletes, the attorney said: "Frankly speaking, I don’t know. One should think hard. How will they treat gross violations of their own Charter?"

The verdict is conspiracy aimed at discriminating Russian sports

Vyacheslav Koloskov, former Vice President of FIFA, said "the CAS decision is a direct political interference in sports in general and the Olympic movement in particular."

"There can be no other explanation, since there are no laws confirming its accuracy. It may be due to the tense atmosphere blown out of proportion by the anti-doping center in the US. The conspiracy aimed at discriminating Russian sports in general is evident," Koloskov said. 

The verdict is catastrophe

Russian former two-time WBA heavyweight champion and State Duma deputy Nikolay Valuev said on Thursday the CAS verdict is catastrophic for Russian sports and Olympic movement.

"I predicted this. The decision was expected, we needed to hope but shouldn’t have cherished illusions. This is a catastrophic decision for Russian sports and Olympic movement, presumption of innocence and everything connected with that," Valuev said.

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