PYEONGCHANG /South Korea/, February 9. /TASS/. The Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refusing to invite them to participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb told journalists.
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"In its decisions, the CAS arbitrators have considered that the process created by the IOC to establish an invitation list of Russian athletes to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision. Although the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was suspended, the IOC nevertheless chose to offer individual athletes the opportunity to participate in the Winter Games under prescribed conditions - a process that was designed to balance the IOC’s interest in the global fight against doping and the interests of individual athletes from Russia," the CAS said in a statement.
"At the hearing, the applicants acknowledged that the IOC had the ability to institute such process. The CAS panel found that the applicants did not demonstrate that the manner in which the two special commissions (the Invitation Review Panel (IRP) and the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OAR IG) independently evaluated the applicants was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner. The panel also concluded that there was no evidence the IRP or the OAR IG improperly exercised their discretion," the CAS said.
The panel of CAS arbitrators in charge of Russian athletes included Carol Roberts (Canada), Bernhard Welten (Switzerland), and Zali Steggall (Australia).
On February 8, a CAS panel concluded the hearing of appeals, which 45 Russian athletes and two coaches had filed against the IOC’s decision not to invite them to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
On Wednesday, CAS started considering appeals by 32 Russian athletes not invited to the Games, including Olympic biathlon champion Anton Shipulin, six-time Olympic champion in short track speed skating Viktor Ahn and two-time world champion in cross-country skiing Sergey Ustiugov.
Besides, the CAS panel also considered appeals filed by 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been slapped by the IOC with life-time Olympic bans, were later cleared by the CAS, but were still denied by the IOC invitations to participate in the 2018 Olympics.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.