Russia verdict due next month

BERLIN • A verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Russia’s appeal against a four-year ban for doping must be unambiguous so it is implemented ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.

Russia was sanctioned last year after the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) concluded that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Russia has appealed to CAS which heard the case last week and a decision is expected by the end of the year.

“In the hearing our representatives have repeated the call of the IOC to have a clear and unambiguous decision which can be directly implemented and which does not need any interpretation and would not trigger new court cases and CAS procedures,” IOC president Thomas Bach said.

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed in March for the first time in the Games’ 124-year history, and are due to run from July 23 to Aug 8 next year.

The case against Russia started with a 2015 report commissioned by Wada that found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes.

“We have been informed the panel indicated the decision can be expected before the end of the year,” Bach said in a virtual news conference at the end of the IOC Executive Board meeting.

“This was very good news for everybody because it would create some certainty seven months before the Tokyo Games.”

Should the ban be upheld, Russia’s teams and athletes would only compete at major sporting events, including the Olympics, as neutrals, without the country’s flag or national anthem.

Many of its athletes have missed the past two Olympics and the country was stripped of its flag at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The ban also meant Russia could miss football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

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    Court of Arbitration for Sport is set to deliver a verdict on Russia’s appeal seven months before the start of the Olympics next year.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE