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.”


Bayern eager to stop Super Cup becoming virus hotbed

Updated 23 September 2020

Bayern eager to stop Super Cup becoming virus hotbed

  • Up to 20,000 spectators would be allowed by UEFA into Budapest’s Puskas Arena in a piloting project to test the return of fans into stadiums
  • Bayern legend Rummenigge anticipates “less than a thousand” Bayern fans will actually make the journey and only around 500 Sevilla fans are expected

BERLIN: Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists the German giants want to prevent Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup showdown in Budapest turning into a super spreader event due to a high Covid-19 infection rate in the Hungarian capital.
On Monday, Bavaria premier Markus Soeder warned against the fixture becoming a “football-Ischgl,” referring to the Austrian ski resort where thousands of holidaymakers were infected with the virus at the beginning of the pandemic in Europe.
“I really get a stomach ache when it comes to the Super Cup” Soeder added of Bayern’s game against Europa League holders Sevilla in a coronavirus red zone.
Rummenigge echoed Soeder’s comments on Wednesday, insisting Bayern Munich have “every interest in ensuring that no Ischgl of football takes place” in Budapest.
“I think everyone’s stomachs are churning. The game will take place in a city with a rate of infection of over 100 (per 100,000 inhabitants), which is twice as high as that in Munich,” Rummenigge told broadcaster ZDF.
“That has to be taken seriously.”
Up to 20,000 spectators would be allowed by UEFA into Budapest’s Puskas Arena in a piloting project to test the return of fans into stadiums.
However, Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karacsony wants the game played without fans.
“If I had the legal means to decide that, I would let the game take place behind closed doors,” he told Hungarian newspaper Nepszava.
The Hungarian FA (MLSZ) released a statement Wednesday saying the “Puskas Arena will be safer than any other place in the country.”
The MLSZ pointed out that Sevilla and Bayern fans can only enter the stadium after “strict health checks,” will be kept seperate and “will not meet with Hungarian fans.”
Rummenigge anticipates “less than a thousand” Bayern fans will actually make the journey and only around 500 Sevilla fans are expected.
“We have a great interest that they come back healthy and that nobody in Budapest gets infected,” emphasised Rummenigge.
He has promised a “serious and disciplined” approach with both Bayern and Sevilla offering traveling fans Covid-19 tests.
The Bayern chief also pointed out that to “all those who say that you really have to be extremely careful with the subject. We are.”
Bayern initially had an allocation of 4,500 tickets but hundreds of fans opted not to travel after the German government declared Budapest a risk zone.
European champions Bayern are also flying to Budapest with a small delegation of officials after being heavily criticized when a group of senior figures sat bunched together in the stands for Friday’s 8-0 rout of Schalke.
Rummenigge was among the group not wearing masks and seated close together in the VIP stand for the opening game of the new Bundesliga season.
“At the next game we will keep the desired distance and wear masks, no problem,” said the 64-year-old.