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21 Jul, 2016 09:17

Russian athletes to remain banned from Rio - Court of Arbitration for Sport

Secretary-General of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Matthieu Reeb has announced that the body has declined the appeal by Russian athletes against an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ban from the Rio Olympics competition.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) lost its appeal against a blanket Olympic ban on its track and field athletes.

"CAS rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes," CAS said in a statement.

The decision adds further weight to calls for the IOC to implement a blanket ban on Russia competing at next month's event in Brazil.

READ MORE: IOC seeks 'legal options' of possible total ban on Russian team from Rio Olympics

Matthieu Reeb has noted that the ROC will not be able to appeal the ruling in the Swiss Federal Court, which means that long-jumper Darya Klishina, who trains outside Russia, will be the only Russian track and field athlete cleared to compete in Rio.

The Kremlin "deeply regrets" CAS upholding the ban on Russian athletes, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"We can only express our deep regrets. The news is not too good, and we certainly will have to analyze the situation, taking in account the [CAS] decision, that's why I would avoid any further comments on that matter," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also offered his thoughts following the announcement.

"I will be brief, an official announcement will follow later. I regret CAS's decision. Unfortunately, by introduction of collective responsibility, it is the creation of a precedent. But we didn't expect a different result. When the IOC vice-president says that Russian athletes have nothing to do at the Olympics - it's certainly a signal,” said Mutko.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) released a statement on its website, saying it "has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favor and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position."

"Today's judgement has created a level playing field for athletes," the statement read.

"The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition."

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe added: "While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements.

"I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation's instinctive desire to include, not exclude.

"Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, can make its own decision regarding the participation of Russian track and field athletes at the Rio Games as the CAS does not have the power to implement the ban itself.

"The International Olympic Committee has to learn and analyze the CAS decision on Russian track and field athletes. Our decision will follow in the next few days," the IOC’s press service stated.

The IOC is expected to reach a final decision on Sunday.