MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Lawyers for the Russian athletes, who have been cleared of doping abuse allegations by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), work on the appeal against a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to deny them invitations to the 2018 Winter Games, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Monday.
The IOC earlier issued a statement declining a request to send invitations to the Games to 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been cleared by the Swiss-based court.
"On the whole, nothing has changed (after the IOC) decision," Kolobkov told journalists. "The athletes continue working with their lawyers on further steps and the CAS field panel in South Korea is viewed as one of the options. Everything will be absolutely within the legal frames."
The Russian sports minister said the IOC’s statement about its dissatisfaction with the CAS ruling was somehow strange.
"The IOC is guided by the Charter, which stipulates the role of the CAS," he said. "The IOC must accept its (the court’s) decisions."
"This statement was a little bit strange as it violates the integrity of the IOC and it will definitely have an impact on the development of the Olympic movement," Kolobkov added.
The IOC Review Panel, chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, declined on Monday a request from Russia to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been cleared by the CAS of their Olympic life bans, imposed earlier by the IOC over doping abuse allegations at 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Following the CAS ruling, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) requested the IOC to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Among them were skeleton racers Maria Orlova, Aleksandr Tretyakov and Elena Nikitina, cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov, Evgeniy Belov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Natalia Matveeva and Yevgeniya Shapovalova, speed skaters Olga Fatkulina and Alexander Rumyantsev, luger Tatiana Ivanova, as well as coaches Albert Demchenko and Sergei Chudinov.
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.
The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.