Life Ban on Russian Athletes lifted by C.A.S.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the IOC suspensions for doping at the 2014 Winter OlympicS, partially upholding 11 other appeals. CAS said that in 28 cases evidence was "insufficient" to prove doping. CAS said that for the 11 athletes whose appeals had been partially upheld, evidence "was sufficient to establish an anti-doping rule violation"
had taken place. It said they would be "declared ineligible" for this month's Games "instead of a life ban from all Olympic Games".

The IOC said in a statement, that the CAS ruling "does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited" to this month's Games in Pyeongchang and that it would consider its own appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. It expressed its "satisfaction on one hand and disappointment on the other" at Thursday's decision, made eight days before the 2018 Winter Olympics begin in South Korea.

It added that, "the confirmation of the anti-doping rule violations for 11 athletes because of the manipulation of their samples clearly demonstrates once more the existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014 while the IOC regrets very much that according to the CAS press release, the panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases.

"This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping. Therefore, the IOC will analyse the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal."

The CAS decision makes it likely that Britain's four-man bobsleigh team from Sochi will be upgraded to a bronze medal. John James Jackson, Bruce Tasker, Stuart Benson and Joel Fearon finished fifth, but the IOC disqualified two Russian sleds who finished first and fourth following re-examination of the doping tests conducted at the time.

Athletes from both Russian sleds were included in the 11 whose doping violations were confirmed by CAS.

The IOC is yet to officially reallocate the medals from that event, but if confirmed it would raise Britain's medal count to five and make Sochi 2014 their most successful Winter Olympics.

43 Russians were banned for life from the Olympics following the conclusion of an IOC investigation into evidence of state-sponsored Russian doping at their home Games in Sochi in 2014. Bobsleigher Maxim Belugin was the only athlete not to lodge an appeal with CAS, while three other cases - biathletes Olga Zaytseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova - have been "suspended".

The IOC investigation - known as the Oswald Commissionwas opened following the findings of the McLaren report and tasked with looking into individual cases of doping. The McLaren report said Russian athletes benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, speaking of "a cover-up that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy".

The IOC also set up another investigative body (the Schmid Commission) to investigate this wider evidence of institutional doping. As a result it banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang, but 169 Russians have since been invited to take part as neutrals.

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