The Russian athletics team will not compete at the Rio Olympics next month after its ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) late Thursday (AEST).
Russia’s Athletics Federation appealed an International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) decision to ban its track and field team from the Games based on disturbing details of systematic doping in the country.
CAS dismissed Russia’s appeal and the IAAF recently turned down 67 applications from Russian athletes hoping to compete under a neutral flag.
The news comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is being urged to ban all Russian competitors due to doping concerns after a recent WADA report detailed endemic doping violations in Russia.
IOC leaders previously said they would consider the CAS ruling on the banned athletics team when making a decision on the overall team, which is due to be made within the next week.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said that while he welcomed the verdict, “this is not a day for triumphant statements”.
“I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing,” he said. “It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.”
The decision has already been widely condemned by Russian officials, with a Kremlin spokesman saying “the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable”.
“I certainly regret such a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which refers to absolutely all of our athletes [who filed the claims],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the country would consider what steps to take next.
“I regret this decision,” Mr Mutko said.
“Unfortunately, a certain precedent has been established for collective responsibility.”
The damning report, by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren, has compelled the IOC’s executive board to meet on Sunday local time in Lausanne, where it will consider McLaren’s recommendation to ban all Russian athletes from Rio.
The WADA report revealed new failed tests and stories of the extraordinary attempts used to avoid, obstruct or intimidate drug testers pointing to state-backed drug cheating from 2011 to 2015.
Athletics Australia welcomes the decision by CAS to uphold the IAAF ban of Russian athletes from Rio 2016. It is a victory for clean sport.
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) July 21, 2016
Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, and Sydney Olympic boss John Fahey said Russia’s presence at the Rio Olympics would threaten the integrity of the entire Olympic movement.
Mr Fahey said the IOC must impose a blanket ban on Russia competing in Brazil.
The WADA report has also threatened Russia’s hosting of the 2018 soccer World Cup after the IOC withdrew support for sporting events being staged in the doping-tainted nation.
Mr Mutko, whose department is accused of orchestrating the doping deception, is also head of the country’s football federation and is a member of FIFA’s ruling council.
FIFA is standing by the 2018 hosts for the time being.
“Preparations for the World Cup are in full swing,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Wednesday local time. “FIFA said yesterday that they are preparing for the World Cup to be held in Russia.”
- with agencies