Russia's appeal against Rio Olympics ban rejected by Court of Arbitration for Sport
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 21/07/16 7:33pm
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected the appeal by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics.
Russia's track-and-field athletes were banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and CAS - sport's highest court - has backed the ban that has been in place since November 2015.
That sanction was imposed after a damning World Anti-Doping Agency report into widespread doping in Russian track and field athletics.
Earlier this week, WADA and others asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee to ban Russia entirely from the Rio Games and the IOC subsequently issued a statement in relation to CAS's decision.
"The IOC takes note of the announcement of the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport," it read.
"We will now have to study and analyse the full decision. The IOC decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days."
The IAAF also responded to CAS's decision by stating their decision to support the ban would ensure a "level playing field for athletes".
"While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements," IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a statement on the IAAF's official website.
"I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation's instinctive desire to include, not exclude.
"Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition."
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was critical of the decision, however, with the IOC having previously stated Russian athletes could no longer be considered innocent with regard to doping.
"I regret this decision," he said. "Unfortunately, a certain precedent has been established for collective responsibility,"
Gregory Ionanndis, a lawyer at CAS, also expressed concern about the assumption all Russian athletes may be guilty of doping.
"We are destroying the well-established doctrine of the presumption of innocence," Ionanndis told Sky Sports News HQ.
"What we are saying is that if you are a Russian athlete, you must be using performance-enhancing substances, and this cannot be right."
And Dick Pound, founder of the World Anti-Doping Agency, believes the suspension should go further, insisting failure to implement a total ban on the Russian team for Rio would undermine the whole ethos of the IOC.
Speaking to SSNHQ, he said: "This is really a tipping point for the IOC, It has been saying that 'doping-free sport is our objective' and that we have 'zero tolerance for doping'.
"We have zero tolerance for doping... unless of course it's Russia. So I think it is important for the IOC to take control of its Games and to impose the ethical standards of fair play and no cheating that it espouses.
"If it doesn't do that then I think it will lose an awful lot of respect around the world."