19:06 GMT02 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday explained its decision on 47 Russian athletes and coaches who were banned from Winter Olympics, stressing the Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC) suspension meant that they could not compete by default.

    CAS argued that the appeals were not against December's Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) suspension, which, while in place, was itself enough to bar all Russian athletes from the Games.

    "IOC suspended the ROC, the ROC no longer had any right to enter athletes and support staff into the Olympic Games. As a result, no Russian athletes could, in normal circumstances, be entered into the Games. The ability of the IOC to suspend the ROC was not challenged," CAS said.

    The court's judgment went on to say that the default exclusion of Russian athletes implied that the non-admission of some of them while admitting others did not constitute a sanction.

    READ MORE: Kremlin Regrets CAS Decision on Russian Athletes' Appeals

    "The panel concluded that a rule allowing eligibility [for participation] to be regained if specific conditions were satisfied could not be construed as a sanction. During final submissions, counsel for the Applicants acknowledged that the IOC had the ability to institute the process it did," CAS said.

    The court stressed that the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee was balanced by the possibility for athletes to participate in the Games under the Olympic flag, if they could prove that they were not guilty of doping violations, and therefore the athletes were not completely robbed of all opportunities to compete.

    The CAS suggested that the IOC steps constituted a measured response to the multiple doping violations discovered in Russian sports.

    READ MORE: WADA Informant to Testify Next Week at Banned Russian Athletes' Hearing

    On Friday, CAS dismissed appeals by 45 Russian athletes and two coaches banned from the Olympics in South Korea by the decision of the IOC.

    On December 5, the IOC suspended the ROC over an alleged state-sponsored doping scheme in the country and decided that it would allow clean Russian athletes to participate in the Winter Olympics that kicked off earlier on Friday in South Korea's Pyeongchang. However, they can compete only under the neutral flag and the IOC would make the final decision on who would be allowed to participate and send the athletes a special invitation. As a result, 168 Russian athletes are participating in the Olympics.

    The IOC made its decision based on the conclusions of several specialized commission that confirmed the existence of doping manipulation at the Winter Olympics held in Russia's Sochi in 2014. At the same time, the Russian authorities have repeatedly refuted allegations of a state-sponsored doping system. The IOC-established commission headed by Samuel Schmid said there were no proof of state support for the doping system in Russia.


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