CAS on Cutting Russia’s Ban to 2 Years: Not ‘Validation of the Conduct of RUSADA or the Russian Authorities’


Russia‘s ban from major sporting events following the doping scandal involving the manipulation of data has been cut to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had announced a four-year suspension in December 2019 which meant a ban from the summer Games in Tokyo next July/August and Paris 2024 as well as the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) appealed the decision and a hearing was held from 2-5 November with CAS halving the length of WADA’s suspension.

This means they will still miss the Tokyo and Beijing Games as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should they qualify before being reinstated on 16 December 2022.

Pertinently, CAS justified their ruling, saying:

“This Panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance [to the WADC] and to ensure that the integrity of sport against the scourge of doping is maintained.

“The consequences which the Panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by WADA.

“This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA or the Russian authorities.

“In making its orders, the Panel is limited by the powers granted under the applicable law, in particular the WADC and the ISCCS.

“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.”

Russia will also not be able to host any major events during this time including the European Short-Course Championships to be held in Kazan in November 2021 – although we are awaiting confirmation.

However, the ban handed down last year left the door open for individual Russian athletes to prove themselves innocent making them eligible to compete under a neutral flag as was the case at Rio 2016.

Part of Thursday’s ruling stated that the uniform can contain or display the name ‘Russia’ as well as ‘neutral athlete’ plus the colours of the flag of the Russian Federation.

There will be no official playing of the Russian national anthem at venues.

A statement from CAS read:

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian AntiDoping Agency (RUSADA), with 50 intervening parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

“The CAS Panel unanimously determined RUSADA to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) in connection with its failure to procure the delivery of the authentic LIMS data (Laboratory Information Management System) and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory to WADA.

“As a consequence, the Panel issued a number of orders which come into effect on 17 December 2020 for a period of two years, i.e. until 16 December 2022.

“For RUSADA to be reinstated as a compliant signatory, all consequences imposed for RUSADA’s non-compliance must have been respected and observed in full by RUSADA through the two-year period with all monetary fines and contributions paid.”

The decision to ban Russia was based on the WADA Review Committee’s finding that Moscow had falsified doping data from the RUSADA lab, which was handed over to WADA investigators in January 2019.

Former Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov attributed the discrepancies in the data to technical issues. Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory had been a key condition of Russia’s controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.

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1 year ago

What will happen to the Russian qualified relays? Will they be able to compete under the neutral flag or will the spot open up for another country?