CCES – (Ottawa, Ontario – July 21, 2016) – A ruling today by a Swiss court has paved the way for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban all Russian athletes from participating in next month’s Olympic Summer Games in Rio, according to the head of Canada’s anti-doping agency.
Paul Melia, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), was reacting to a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. In its ruling, the three-member CAS panel dismissed an appeal by the Russian Olympic Committee and a group of 67 Russian track and field athletes who had asked the Court to overturn a ban on their participation.
The sanction against these athletes was imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last November. It followed the release of a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which found systemic, state-sponsored cheating in Russian Athletics. The CAS ruling today means Russian track and field athletes will not be eligible to compete at this summer’s Rio Games and reinforces WADA’s earlier recommendation to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee.
On Monday, Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren, released another report based on a more comprehensive investigation into Russian anti-doping. His findings confirmed the existence of a widespread, state-sponsored program that impacted virtually all of the sports being contested in Rio.
“Today’s decision effectively removes the final hurdle,” said Melia. “The Court of Arbitration for Sport has paved the way for the IOC to implement the WADA recommendations flowing from the McLaren Report and issue a complete ban on participation by all Russian athletes in all sports, not just track and field. This is reassuring news for anyone who cares about the integrity of sport and the values of the Olympic Movement.”
Today’s development fuels mounting international pressure on both the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to ban Russian athletes from all international competitions, including the Rio Games, until that country’s anti-doping system is proven to be compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
The IOC’s Executive Committee is scheduled to meet on Sunday, at which time it is expected to make a decision on how to deal with the revelations in Professor McLaren’s report.
Melia noted that the CCES has joined a consortium of leading anti-doping organizations from around the world as signatories to separate letters that have been sent to the Presidents of theIOC and IPC repeating the call for a complete Russian ban in Rio.
“In our collective view, it’s pretty simple, really,” added Melia. “The IOC and IPC must take this action if we expect to restore public confidence in the integrity of international sport and recapture the trust of clean athletes. With the CAS decision today, we’re extremely confident that both the IOC and IPC will now impose bans on the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from bringing athletes to Rio.”
These efforts are in line with what Canadians expect, Melia added. A recent survey commissioned by the CCES found that eight out of 10 Canadian adults believe that Canada must continue to actively combat doping even if other countries do not.
The CCES is an independent, national, not-for profit organization with a responsibility to administer the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.
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