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23 Feb, 2024 15:22

Court rejects Russian Olympic appeal

The country’s participation has been suspended since it took athletes from former Ukrainian territories under its wing
Court rejects Russian Olympic appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected Russia’s appeal against a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend its membership over the Ukraine conflict.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was suspended “until further notice” in October 2023, after it brought under its umbrella athletes from four former Ukrainian regions that had voted overwhelmingly to join the neighboring country a year earlier.

At the time, Moscow described the suspension as “politically motivated” and an example of “deliberate segregation” that violated the principles of the Olympic Movement. ROC filed an appeal with the CAS, the highest tribunal in sports, in early November.

The CAS upheld the IOC ruling, saying in a statement on Friday that the organization’s Executive Board “did not breach the principles of legality, equality, predictability or proportionality.”

“The CAS panel’s decision is final and binding except for the parties’ right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds,” it added.

Meanwhile, the IOC said it was “pleased” with the CAS ruling, suggesting that the ROC’s decision to include athletes from former Ukrainian regions “violates the territorial integrity of the NOC [National Olympic Committee] of Ukraine.”

Following the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the IOC recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus, Moscow’s key ally, should not be allowed to compete in international events. 

In September, however, IOC President Thomas Bach said athletes from those countries could be allowed to take part in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag and on condition they “do not support the war and are not linked to the military, or to other services.”

Commenting on the decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that such policies could end up burying the Olympic movement, insisting that “sport is outside of politics.”