The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Russia’s ban from all international sport due to the country’s doping failures, but have cut the four-year sanction of the ban in half from four years to two.
The country was first issued a four-year ban from the international sporting competition in December 2019.
Despite the new ruling, the two-year ban will still force Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag – and without the country’s national anthem – at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The verdict also means Russia’s football team will not be able to compete at the FIFA World Cup in two years’ time in Qatar, more than 24 months after they hosted the last tournament.
The ban states Russia are not prohibited from partaking in qualifying events, meaning Stanislav Cherchesov’s side could – and probably will – still face World Cup qualifying matches even though they are banned from competing in the tournament itself.
Thursday’s decision also prohibits Russia from hosting, or bidding to host, any Olympic Games or world championships during its two-year ban. And it bars Russian president Vladimir Putin, and other top government officials, from attending the next two Olympics.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Ba?ka said in a statement that the organization “is pleased to have won this landmark case.”
“The Panel has clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow Laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalized doping scheme,” he said. “In the face of continual resistance and denial from Russia, we clearly proved our case, in accordance with due process.
“We are, however, disappointed that the CAS Panel did not endorse each and every one of our recommended consequences for the four-year period we requested. We believe they were proportionate and reasonable, but ultimately WADA is not the judge but the prosecutor and we must respect the decision of the Panel.”