Paris: Russia is set to miss Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics after their ban from all major sporting events following a doping scandal has been cut half to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday.
The two-year ban still stops Russia from competing in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, scheduled to be held in 2021 and FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Notably, Russia was initially handed a four-year ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
CAS said that the reduction of the ban should not be taken “as any validation” of Russia’s conduct.’
Russian athletes can still be approved to compete as neutrals “on the condition that they are not subject to a suspension imposed by a competent authority, that the uniform worn does not contain the flag of the Russian Federation and contains the words ‘neutral athlete,’ and that the Russian national anthem is not played or sung at any official event venue,” according to CAS.
The ban, sought by the World Anti-Doping Agency, runs from today through Dec. 16, 2022.
If the Russian athletes’ uniforms display the name “Russia” in any language or format, “the words ‘neutral athlete’ (or an equivalent) must be displayed in English in a position and size that is no less prominent than the name ‘Russia,’” according to CAS.
A CAS panel wrote that the punishments imposed “are not as extensive as those sought by WADA. This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] or the Russian authorities. In making its orders, the panel is limited by the powers granted under the applicable law. … It has considered matters of proportionality and, in particular, the need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes to participate in clean international sport.”
WADA president Witold Banka said the organization was “pleased to have won this landmark case.”
“We are, however, disappointed that the CAS panel did not endorse each and every one of our recommended consequences for the four-year period we requested,” Banka said in a press release. “These are still the strongest set of consequences ever imposed on any country for doping-related offences.”
Last December, WADA banned the Russia name and flag for four years from major sports competitions, including Olympics and world championships, pending the CAS decision on Russia’s appeal.