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Deputy PM comments on CAS decision on Russian athletes

CAS has dismissed an appeal by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against a ban on participation in the Olympics

PYEONGCHANG /South Korea/, February 9. /TASS/. The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Russian athletes could not have been different due to the IOC's inviting procedure, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Friday.

As reported earlier the Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed the appeal filed by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to invite them to participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Friday.

"This decision could not have been different. The inviting formula is extremely difficult to challenge, regardless of whether violations existed. The procedure itself is not transparent and does not contribute to the authority of the organization in the fans’ opinion," he said.

"The procedure of inviting or not inviting is similar those of a commercial private club tournament. But those are the Olympic Games at the end of the day. This all will diminish competition and attention to the Games," Mutko stressed.

According to Deputy PM, it will be difficult for the young Russian team to compete at the upcoming Games in PyeongChang. "Without leaders it will be difficult for them, the competitive environment is small. It is necessary to focus on supporting the team. The key thing for organizers is to avoid the temptation to strengthen themselves regarding further defamation of athletes during the Games, to ensure equal attitude to all," he said.

"As for (rejected) athletes, they will be backed up. They have many starts ahead, and they will have the chance to fulfil their potential," Mutko concluded.

On Wednesday, CAS started considering appeals by 32 Russian athletes not invited to the Games. 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. Doping-free athletes from Russia will participate in the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for 'Olympic Athlete from Russia'. Currently, Russia’s delegation to the Games includes 168 athletes.