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Speaker outraged by IOC statement after CAS upholds Russian athletes’ appeals

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

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. The speaker of the Russian Federation Council upper house of parliament has lashed out at the International Olympic Committee's statement expressing regrets that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld on Thursday the appeals of 28 Russian athletes banned for life from participating in the Olympic Games over doping accusations.

"One would think that the IOC, which is supposed to enshrine the Olympic spirit, should have said ‘We are glad that another 28 athletes can compete in the Olympics’," said Valentina Matviyenko. "But now I read that the IOC regrets the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Why does it regret? Are you already questioning the decision of the CAS that was set up exactly for these aims?" Matviyenko told Vesti FM radio.

"Why do you assume the role of the judge, whose decisions cannot be questioned at all? This is an all-out violation of all international rules," she added.

The speaker hailed the CAS decision "as the first heartening [decision] in terms of restoring justice".

CAS on Thursday 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.

The athletes came under the IOC’s ban following a probe by the IOC commission under Denis Oswald, which retested the doping samples from the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The sanctions against them were annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 were reinstated. Earlier reports said that in case of the CAS favorable decision these athletes might participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict does not mean that the 28 acquitted Russian athletes will be automatically granted access to the 2018 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee said in a statement on Thursday.

"This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping. Therefore, the IOC will analyze the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. With regard to the participation of athletes from Russia at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the decision of the IOC Executive Board (EB) of 5 December 2017 remains in place. It makes it clear that, since the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is suspended, Russian athletes can participate in PyeongChang only on invitation by the IOC," the statement runs. "The result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games. Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation.".