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11 Apr, 2022 14:48

Sports chiefs vow to ignore court ruling and ban Russians anyway

Luge officials want to ignore a decision from a court of arbitration
Sports chiefs vow to ignore court ruling and ban Russians anyway

The executive committee of the International Luge Federation (FIL) has revealed its plans to ignore an FIL Court of Arbitration ruling and continue to ban Russian athletes.

The Russian Luge Federation (FSSR) celebrated a victory of sorts before the weekend when the FIL arbitration court annulled all the measures imposed on March 2 against it as a response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

The FSSR's president Natalia Gart confirmed the development to TASS, though she added that she had been expelled from the FIL's Executive Committee.

On Monday, the FIL Executive Committee laid out its plans to ignore the arbitration ruling.

"The FIL Executive Board intends to have it checked in a suitable manner as to whether any sanctions of any kind against the Russian Luge Federation are actually legally permissible for reasons of 'political neutrality', anchored in the FIL statutes," it said in a statement

The FIL said it could not "behave neutrally" in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

"Even knowing that the measures against the Russian Luge Federation have been lifted for legal reasons, the FIL Executive Board is still fully committed to the measures decided on March 2nd, 2022" the Executive Committee added, before listing steps such as Russia not being authorized to host FIL-sanctioned events while Russian athletes, coaches and officials are also barred from FIL-sanctioned events. 

"Russian representatives in various commissions and working groups appointed by the FIL Executive will be suspended from their offices," it was added, as the FIL leadership vowed to work alongside the body's Legal Committee to "look for possibilities to solve the unsatisfactory situation caused by the arbitration judgment".

The development comes as a blow to Gart and the FSSR, who on Friday said that the "Russian Luge Federation has retained its membership in the international federation."

"There were not enough votes for expulsion, it was necessary [to get] two-thirds for this, but in the end they scored less than half. Therefore we reserve all rights, our athletes can compete at international competitions, and Russia can host international competitions," Gart explained.

Gart also stressed that she would sue over being expelled from the Executive Committee and that her organization "will certainly file a claim with the FIL Court of Appeal".

Thus far, an FSSR response has not been made to the latest correspondence from FIL's Executive Committee.

Before Monday's announcement, the FIL had tweeted that "these are legal decisions by an independent court and free, democratic votings by the member federations".

"Of course, not everyone likes that, but it is a principle of democracy," the FIL had initially pointed out.