The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne has issued a verdict in the arbitration procedures involving six top Russian cross country skiers – Sochi 2014 Olympic champion Alexander Legkov, Falun 2015 World champion Maxim Vylegzhanin as well as Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Evgeniy Belov and Julia Ivanova .
The decision reads as a big compromise:
The CAS have decided to maintain the provisional suspensions imposed on the athletes until 31 October 2017, at the latest.
However, “in the absence of any anti-doping rule violation having been assessed against any of the athletes so far, the temporary suspension shall lapse and the athletes shall be allowed to compete again”
Yelena Vyalbe, President of the Russian Cross-Country Ski Association, has already reacted on the CAS verdict by saying that all the suspended athletes have a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics as the Team Russia squad selection would be determined by the resutls of the FIS World Cup that kicks off a few weeks later, on November 24
In December 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened investigation procedures against the athletes further to evidence presented in the second McLaren Independent Investigation Report that urine samples provided by the athletes during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games may have been tampered with, by manipulation of samples in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Sochi. The same day, FIS provisionally suspended the athletes while the FIS Doping Panel confirmed suspensions in January 2017.
The Russian athletes filed appeals at the CAS against the FIS Doping Panel’s decisions. The CAS has a final authority on all legal disputes in international sport.
Alexey Petukhov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Elena Vyalbe, Evgenia Shapovalova, Evgeniy Belov outside CAS building in Lausanne. Courtesy Instagram of Alexey Petukhov, https://www.instagram.com/petukhov83
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