By Omolagba Oluwayemi
Russia’s name, flag and anthem have been banned from the next two Olympics and any world championships for the next two years after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the country’s four-year sanction on Thursday BSNsports.com.ng reports.
The long-awaited ruling means only Russian athletes who are not implicated in doping or covering up positive tests can compete as neutrals at major sporting events including next year’s Tokyo Olympics, Beijing 2022 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Thursday’s decision, which comes into effect immediately, also blocks Russia from hosting or bidding to host major sporting events during its two-year ban – until December 16, 2022, and in case the right to host any such event has already been awarded, it must be withdrawn and re-assigned to another country “unless it is legally or practically impossible” to do so.
Russian Government representatives are also barred from attending Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and World Championships unless they are invited by the Prime Minister or head of state of the host country.
Last December, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant and imposed a four-year package of sanctions on Russia as punishment for manipulating and tampering with data at the Moscow Laboratory.
Russia had been told to hand over data to WADA as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its systematic state-sponsored doping scandal.
RUSADA refused to accept that punishment and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which heard the case at a four-day hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland in November “with 50 intervening parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)”.
The three-person CAS Panel unanimously upheld WADA’s claim that RUSADA was non-complaint but halved the duration of the ban.
“This panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance [to the World Anti-Doping Code] and to ensure that the integrity of sport against the scourge of doping is maintained,” the CAS said in a statement.