Road To The Olympic Games

Olympics

Russian doping ban heads to sport's highest court

Russia's four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data is heading to sport's highest court. The World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday it has formally referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Russia confirmed last month it will appeal the sanction.

WADA recently imposed 4-year suspension of nation's name, flag from Olympics

President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 9. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Russia from the Olympics and other major sporting events for four years, though many athletes will likely be allowed to compete as neutral athletes. (Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press)

Russia's four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data is heading to sport's highest court.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday it has formally referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Russia confirmed last month it will appeal the sanction.

WADA imposed a package of sanctions including banning Russia's name and flag from the Olympics and world championship events in various sports over four years.

There are also restrictions on Russia hosting some major events, and plans to vet Russian athletes who want to compete at major competitions, barring them if they're implicated in doping coverups.

WATCH | WADA deals new blow against Russian sport: 

WADA president Craig Reedie points to Russian belligerence in cleaning up its approach to sport. 0:34

The next stage is for WADA and Russia to each select one of the three CAS arbitrators to hear the case. Those two then select a third judge to lead the panel.

Next year's Olympics in Tokyo will be the third consecutive edition of the games preceded by a legal battle over Russian doping issues.

Russia is set to be represented by at least three legal teams in what promises to be a complicated case. Besides the Russian anti-doping agency, which is the body officially sanctioned by WADA, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian Paralympic Committee have said they want to be represented.

"We're hoping for an honest and fair ruling in relation to those issues we disagree with," ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said earlier Thursday, before the case was confirmed, in comments to state news agency Tass.

WATCH | Russia hit with 4-year ban for doping: 

World Anti-Doping Agency hands Russia 4-year ban from international sports events, including next summer's Tokyo Olympics.  2:13

WADA's sanctions are "excessive and in most cases illogical," Pozdnyakov said.

Russia handed over the Moscow lab's doping data archive in January in return for having earlier sanctions lifted in 2018.

WADA investigators found evidence that Russia was intensively editing the data in the weeks before the handover to remove signs of failed drug tests.

Russian officials have denied any editing took place and offered various explanations. That includes blaming the supposedly unstable structure of the database program for changing the file structure, and alleged interference by former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, now WADA's star witness on Russian doping.

WADA says that a concerted attempt was made to frame Rodchenkov by splicing fake chat messages into the database files.

Sponsored Content

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now