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Putin: CAS decision on Russian athletes 'evokes nothing but joy’

On February 1, CAS satisfied the appeals of 28 Russian athletes who had been barred for life from the Olympics by a ruling from the International Olympic Committee

ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 1. /TASS/. The verdict passed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) evokes nothing but joy, proving the innocence of an overwhelming majority of Russian athletes, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

The CAS has ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes whom the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier banned for life from participating in the Olympic Games over accusations of breaching anti-doping rules at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, according to the court’s news release.

The court also partially upheld appeals of 11 Russian athletes, replacing a life ban from all Olympic Games with a ban on participating only in the PyeongChang Games, the press release said.

"It is necessary to treat with respect not only the court’s ruling, which evokes nothing but joy, proving our position that an overwhelming majority of our athletes are clean. But it is also necessary to treat with respect the opponent in the dispute. That is why, I believe that there should be no euphoria on our part and we need to treat this with calm," the head of state said, commenting on the CAS’s decision.

As Putin noted, "in any law system, a court is the final instance of decision-making and everyone should treat a court ruling with respect."

"But in a court of law, as a rule, at least two viewpoints are considered, i.e. the viewpoints of two disputing parties and it is necessary to treat with respect not only a court ruling," the Russian president said.

It is necessary "to treat with respect those organizations that made the relevant decisions before, bearing in mind that, first of all, we are glad for those athletes who were supported by the sports arbitration panel but not all 100% of them were exonerated."

"There is still something we ourselves need to work on and this is absolutely clear from the viewpoint of improving our anti-doping program and policy. We will do this insistently with WADA, together with the IOC and other international organizations," the Russian leader said.