CAS Russia decision attacked by whistleblower’s lawyer

Vladimir Putin with Russian athletes at the Sochi Games in 2014
Updated 01 February 2018

CAS Russia decision attacked by whistleblower’s lawyer

LONDON: The lawyer for doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has slammed the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) to lift life bans on 28 Russians claiming the ruling “emboldens cheaters.”
Sport’s highest court overturned the disqualifications of 28 Russians who competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It ruled there was “insufficient” evidence that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the Games hosted by Russia.
CAS said in its judgment: “In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned.”
It added: “The evidence put forward by the IOC in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case.”
Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, was the source of revelations on Moscow’s state-sponsored doping. His American lawyer Jim Walden ridiculed CAS’s ruling.
Calling the verdict “unfortunate” he said it “provides a very small measure of punishment for some athletes but a complete ‘get out of jail free card’ for most.”
“The CAS decision only emboldens cheaters, makes it harder for clean athletes to win, and provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and (Vladimir) Putin specifically.”
CAS cleared 28 of the Russians accused of doping and they may now compete at the Pyeongchang Games starting next week but only if given invitations by the International Olympic Committee.
Of the others 11 had their lifetime bans lifted due to “insufficent evidence” but are still banned from the Games in South Korea.
Walden said Rodchenkov had testified fully and credibly at CAS.
“His truth has been verified by forensic evidence, other whistleblowers, and, more recently, recovery of the Moscow lab’s secret database, showing thousands of dirty tests that were covered up,” he said.
He claimed that the ruling indicated that self-policing in international sports had been a “monumental failure.”
“If athletes want to compete clean, they must use their collective power to force reform.
“They have to burn the current system to the ground. Otherwise, doping should simply be permitted so at least the playing field is level.”
The news was met with glee in Moscow with top Russian officials saying the ruling proved a state-sponsored doping system did not exist.
“We are very glad for our athletes,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“The decision proves that energetic work to stand up for our rights in court and elsewhere — it is justified, it can be effective and it should continue.
“And we are hoping that this work will certainly continue.”


Coronavirus forces fan ban at Italian football games

Updated 25 February 2020

Coronavirus forces fan ban at Italian football games

  • The Europa League game between Inter Milan and Ludogorets on Thursday will be affected
  • Italy reported its fifth death from the virus on Monday and it has the most confirmed cases in Europe

ROME: Upcoming matches in Italian Serie A and the Europa League will be played behind closed doors to combat the spread of coronavirus, the Italian sports minister announced on Monday evening.
“Following the demands of the sports world and knowing that the ban on sporting events open to the public remains in force in six regions of northern Italy, we have agreed to the holding of matches behind closed doors,” said Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The Europa League game between Inter Milan and Ludogorets on Thursday will be affected, but the minister did not specify which Serie A matches at the weekend would be included in the ban.
There are six games in the regions he mentioned, including the clash on Sunday evening between leader Juventus and third-place Inter.
Italy reported its fifth death from the virus on Monday and it has the most confirmed cases in Europe.
Napoli’s Champions League match against Barcelona on Tuesday is not at risk.
The alternative to banning fans is to postpone games and Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Italian Football League made clear earlier in the day that he was opposed to thats.
“We have made an official request to Health Minister Roberto Speranza to have this game played behind closed doors,” Gravina told the press. “We expect a quick response, but we have been told that the outcome will be positive.”