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RUSADA opts against appealing CAS decision on sanctions against Russian sports

According to the CAS ruling as of December 17, 2020, Russian athletes are deprived of the right to participate in all world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for a two-year period

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will not be filing an appeal against the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on sanctions of the World Anti-Doping Agency against Russian sports, RUSADA’s press office announced on Monday.

The Swiss-based CAS ruled on December 17, 2020 to partially uphold WADA’s lawsuit against RUSADA and stripped the Russian agency of its compliance status with the World Anti-Doping Code.

In late December, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov told TASS that CAS made procedural violations, which were reported by lawyers. The ROC president also announced plans at that time to file an appeal against these violations at the court of cassation. The Russian Olympic Committee participated in the court case between RUSADA and WADA as a third party.

RUSADA stated that it resolutely disagrees with conclusions of CAS regarding the alleged manipulations with the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

"Following its detailed review of the reasoned award, RUSADA strongly disagrees with its findings regarding the alleged data manipulations, which - in RUSADA's view - are based on a flawed and one-sided assessment of the facts," the agency’s press office said in a statement. "We regret that CAS did not take into account the detailed submissions and evidence submitted by RUSADA and the intervening parties over the course the arbitral proceedings."

RUSADA also noted that it was recognized as non-compliant with WADA’s Code although it did not commit any wrongdoings, which was acknowledged by WADA.

"RUSADA considers that this decision not only contravenes basic principles of fairness, but is also unwarranted in light of the significant progress made by RUSADA during the reinstatement process, and which has been, again, expressly acknowledged by WADA," the statement continued. "For these reasons, RUSADA considers the sanctions imposed by CAS to be wholly unsubstantiated and unjustified."

However, RUSADA welcomed the fact that CAS decided against upholding WADA’s request on the collective punishment, which could have included clean Russian athletes. "In refusing WADA's request to collectively sanction innocent athletes, the arbitrators have acted in the spirit of fair play and justice by rendering a decision that reflects and upholds the fundamental values and interests of the entire international sports community," according to RUSADA.

"RUSADA welcomes and supports the panel's refusal to endorse the measures of collective punishment against Russian sport requested by WADA in this case, which fundamentally contradict the spirit and the letter of the Olympic Charter and could have set a dangerous precedent threatening the very foundations of the Olympic movement," the statement reads.

"Innocent athletes should never be held responsible for the actions of the few individuals who commit anti-doping rule violations, and who should be investigated individually and punished accordingly."

"Based on these considerations, and putting the interests of Russian athletes and Russian sport first, as well as taking into account the need for legal certainty, RUSADA has made the decision not to challenge the CAS award before the Swiss Supreme Court. RUSADA considers that this chapter has now been closed and is committed to working with WADA with a view to fully restoring RUSADA's membership status," the statement added.

RUSADA-WADA case

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland’s Lausanne upheld on December 17 WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) previous ruling on a number of sanctions against Russian sports. In particular, CAS upheld WADA’s decision to declare RUSADA as non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. The court, however, ruled to cut the previously proposed four-year term of sanctions to the period of two years.

The Swiss-based court said in a statement on December 17 that the CAS Panel "unanimously determined RUSADA to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) in connection with its failure to procure the delivery of the authentic LIMS data (Laboratory Information Management System) and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory to WADA" in the period between 2012 and 2015. The Russian authorities deny accusations of manipulation.

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).

According to the CAS decision as of December 17, 2020, Russian athletes are 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 this year.

The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for the period of two years. WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022.