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Banned: Russia's track and field athletes lose their appeal to compete at Rio Olympics

Decision paves the way for a blanket ban on the entire Russian team.

McLaren report described how Russian authorities created a
McLaren report described how Russian authorities created a "state-dictated failsafe system" for doping.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated 10.55

RUSSIA’S TRACK AND field athletes will not be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics after an appeal against their ban was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) this morning.

The decision comes as the International Olympic Committee considers a blanket ban against the entire Russian team following the revelation of a state-sponsored doping programme.

Sixty-eight Russian athletes and the Russian Olympic Committee had sought to overturn the ban imposed by the IAAF, world athletics’ governing body.

In a statement, the IAAF said:

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position.Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes. The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition.

President Sebastian Coe added:

While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements.I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.

In response, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko slammed the decision as “subjective” and “somewhat politicised.”

“In my view, this is a subjective and somewhat politicised decision for which there is no legal basis,” he told TASS news agency.

The decision by CAS now opens the door for the IOC to implement a total ban on Russia before the Olympics opens on 5 August — a little over two weeks from now.

On Wednesday, the IOC executive indicated that they would wait for the CAS ruling and examine all legal options before delivering a verdict within seven days.

The Russian scandal first came to light in 2014 when allegations made by two whistleblowers, Vitaly Stepanov and his wife Yulia, featured in a documentary broadcast on German TV.

In November 2015, the IAAF moved to ban Russian track and field athletes with immediate effect following the publication of a damning report by the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada), which accused Russia of ‘sabotaging’ the London Olympics with a state-sponsored doping programme.

Further revelations came to light last week in the independent McLaren report which described how the Russian authorities had created a “state-dictated failsafe system” for their doping programme.

– Additional reporting by AFP 

IOC reluctant to ban Russia from Rio, will take a week to decide

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Niall Kelly

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