MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes barred from competing at the Olympic Games for life offers them a good chance to take part in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, sports lawyer Mikhail Prokopets told TASS.
The CAS decision was announced on February 1. The court upheld the appeals of 28 Russian athletes and partially upheld the appeals of 11 Russians replacing the lifetime Olympic bans with a prohibition on competing at the 2018 Games only.
"This CAS verdict gives our athletes the right to urgently turn to its Ad Hoc Division, which has already begun working in South Korea," Prokopets said. "If these cleared Russian athletes meet all the criteria for qualifying for the Games, they have the right to demand permission to compete at the 2018 Olympics. They have a good chance of being allowed to do so. This division makes decisions quickly, within a few days. Our guys need to contact them as soon as possible to defend their rights."
According to the lawyer, the judgement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport was a huge surprise for him. "Since all the hearings on Russian athletes were politically motivated, we anticipated a politically-charged decision," Prokopets said. "For me, this CAS decision is as much of a surprise as it is for everyone else. On the other hand, as attorneys, we were critical about the decisions made by the International Olympic Committee from the very beginning. In many cases, there was no sufficient evidence for such draconian sanctions."
The 2018 Olympics is scheduled to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, from February 9 to February 25.