Russia could be one step closer to being banned from the Rio Olympics.
The decision to ban Russia’s athletics team from next month’s Olympics was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest court.
The Russian Olympic Committee and dozens of individual athletes were appealing a decision by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.
The court, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, upheld the “validity” of the IAAF ban, saying a country whose national federation is suspended is ineligible from entering international competitions, including the Olympics.
In a statement, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decisions in the arbitrations between the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), a number of Russian athletes (the claimant athletes) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“The CAS has dismissed both the request for arbitration filed by the ROC and 68 claimant athletes, and the appeal filed by 67 of the same athletes against the IAAF decision to consider them as ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
The three-person panel ruled the Russian Olympic Committee “is not entitled to nominate Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games considering that they are not eligible to participate under the IAAF competition rules.”
This doesn’t automatically mean Russia is now banned from the Rio Games. The court said the International Olympic Committee could still accept or refuse the entry of Russian track and field athletes, either those representing their country or as “neutral athletes.”
The decision sets the stage for a decision by the IOC, likely to come on Sunday.
The IOC’s executive board met earlier this week but delayed making a decision until the CAS ruling was announced. A second emergency meeting to discuss the meeting will be held on Sunday.
On Monday, Western University law professor Richard McLaren released a report showing there was widespread cheating in the Russian Olympic program.
His findings show urine samples swapped out so tests of Russian athletes always passed.
Some samples contain “quantities of salt significantly exceeding the levels produced by the human body, absent a serious life-threatening medical condition.” While other samples had a different DNA than the athlete tested.
McLaren said Russia’s National Olympic committee did anything to get around doping after its “abysmal medal tally in the 2010 games in Vancouver.”
The scheme lasted at least four years, covered 28 Olympic sports – both summer and winter – and involved at least 312 positive tests that went unreported at the behest of higher-ups in the country’s sports ministry, according to a 97-page report issued Monday.
Time is crucial because the Olympics begin August 5th, and decisions about Russia’s participation in Rio must be made because thousands of athletes from other countries are waiting to see if spots will open up that they didn’t qualify for over Russia.
With files from Lisa MacGregor, Global News