Russian athletes banned from competing under Russian name and flag2 min read

By- Prapti Sangoi

The Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) issued its decision which is the latest development in a long-running scandal that has seen Russian officials, coaches and athletes caught in systemic doping.

The court banned Russian athletes and teams from using the country’s name, flag and anthem for the next two years. The court’s ruling also blocked Russia from bidding to host key sporting events for two years.

Nevertheless, Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, only if they are not suspected of doping or covering up positive tests.

The court halved the four-year ban which was proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in a landmark case where Russia was accused of state-ordered tampering with a database from the Moscow testing laboratory before handing it to the WADA investigators last year.

On the other hand, the proposed team name at major events is a win for Russia. According to the terms of the court’s ruling, the name “Russia” can appear on uniforms as long as the words “Neutral Athlete” or equivalents like “Neutral Team” are equally prominent. The national anthem of Russia will not be sung or played at any official event venue.

The burden of proof was also moved more toward WADA and away from the Russian athletes when their doping history is examined for selection to the Olympics or other sporting events. 

Russian athletes and teams can also retain the national flag colours of red, blue and white in their uniforms at major sporting events which were not possible for them at the past sporting events.

Even with those allowances, the Swiss court enforced the harshest punishments on Russia since accusations emerged after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

However, the court’s three judges said in their ruling that their decision to impose punishment less severe than what WADA wanted should not be read as validation for Russia’s actions.

The Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) must pay $1.27 million to WADA for all the costs incurred in its investigation.

A full 186-page arbitral ruling is expected to be published soon. Russia can appeal again, this time to Switzerland’s supreme court.

According to WADA, the decision is a significant moment for clean sport and athletes while also conveying disappointment that the CAS panel did not approve each and every one of their suggested penalties for the four-year period they requested.

READ ALSO: Swiss parliament approves same-sex marriage

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});