Jessica van der Meer discusses CAS’ decision to uphold ban on 47 Russian athletes for 2018 winter Olympic Games in Sportcal and Lawyer Monthly

Posted: 12/02/2018

Relieved IOC welcomes CAS decision to dismiss 47 Russian appeals

The International Olympic Committee this morning welcomed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to dismiss an appeal by 47 Russian athletes and coaches to be allowed to take part in the winter Olympic Games beginning here in PyeongChang today, saying that the decision “supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes.

The ruling, which came ahead of the opening ceremony, contrasted with CAS’s shock decision earlier this week to uphold the appeals by 15 Russian athletes against lifetime bans for their part in an alleged doping scandal at the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics.


Legal opinion Jessica van der Meer, a sports law barrister at civil and commercial chambers 2 Temple Gardens, offered this analysis of the decision: “The latest Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision reflects a willingness to support the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) objective of clean sport, potentially to the detriment of ‘clean’ individual Russian athletes.

“The CAS decision, which had to determine whether there was any basis for the IOC’s refusal to invite Russian athletes, is in some ways, a judicial review of the IOC’s method for determining which athletes are able to take part in the competition.

“The Court found that the invitation process, guidelines and criteria set up by the IOC to determine which athletes were ‘clean’ and would therefore be invited, were not inherently discriminatory or unfair.

“For the CAS to acknowledge that its decision had the potential to sanction individual Russian athletes on the sole basis of their citizenship but to stress that it had to balance this risk against the IOC’s objective of achieving ‘clean’ Olympics reflects the emphasis put on the fight against doping by the Court.

“The Russian Olympic Committee has yet to rebut the evidence of systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”

This article was originally published in Sportcal and can be accessed here behind a paywall and Jessica’s comments were also published in Lawyer Monthly



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