MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Banning Russian officials from attending international sporting events is unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Match TV channel.
"I think the provision concerning banning state leaders from attending sports events is unclear and unacceptable," he said, commenting on the latest decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian athletes.
The court’s decision was expended for a period of two years, with WADA initially requiring four years. "Two is less than four," Lavrov added. "If I understand correctly, permission to have national symbols on sports uniforms is also a relaxation compared to what was at the 2018 Olympics. Regulating the behavior of spectators and the opportunity for them to have national symbols - this also distinguishes, as I understand it, this decision from the previous one," he noted.
CAS ruled on the night of December 17 to keep in force a number of sanctions against Russia for the period of up to two years. The decision of the Swiss-based court was made within the frames of a legal spat between RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency).
According to CAS decision, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.
The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan next year.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that Russia had been always standing for the development of international sports cooperation as well as for the honest and just sports, which "will be beyond all types of politicized matters."
Russia will draw the right conclusions after the decision of CAS, Lavrov said. "I think that after the decision of the CAS, we will all draw the right conclusions. The most important thing in this decision is that there is no collective responsibility, and pure athletes, unlike during the previous Winter Olympic Games, will no longer have to apply for some special invitation from the International Olympic Committee," he said.
"If you are clean, you have no doping history or your disqualification has already expired - that is it, you don't need any invitations, you have every right in accordance with the decision of your federation to get into the national team to participate in the Olympic Games, as I understand it," the Minister added.
Lavrov stressed that he opposes doping in general, which, among other things, destroys athletes' health. "There are also things that, I believe, need to be eliminated in the international movement for the purity of sports. We have been working with the World Anti-Doping Agency for a long time, although at some stage we underestimated the need to work within this structure. It's good that the crisis with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is finally over," Lavrov pointed out.
The WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) approved on December 9, 2019, recommendations of its Compliance Review Committee to revoke the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sports tournaments, including the Olympics, Paralympics and world championships, for a period of four years.
The WADA ExCo also ruled that Russia must not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major international sports tournament in this four-year period. Russian state officials, as well as the officials of the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian Paralympic Committee, were banned from attending all major international sports tournaments for this four-year period.
The RUSADA Supervisory Board recommended on December 19, 2019 the agency’s Founder Board to disagree with WADA’s sanctions against Russian sports and to take this case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne. On December 27, RUSADA sent an official notification of its disagreement to WADA and the global anti-doping body turned this case over to the Swiss-based court.
CAS held hearings on a legal debate between RUSADA and WADA in the period between November 2 and 5, 2020. Appointed judges in the CAS case between RUSADA and WADA were Mark Williams (Australia), Luigi Fumagalli (Italy) and Hamid Gharavi (France).