CAS elects not to intervene in IBSF Russian doping dispute

Alexander Tretiakov, Elena Nikitina and other Russian sliders sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are set to remain free to compete in events organised by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) declined to intervene in the case.

The CAS made its decision after the IBSF’s Executive Committee sought to challenge a ruling made by its own Anti-Doping Hearing Panel. The panel last month ruled that suspensions should not be re-imposed on Russian Bobsled Federation president Alexandr Zubkov, Tretiakov (pictured) and others who have been implicated in the doping scandal surrounding the 2014 winter Olympic Games.

The three-person panel said that the testimony of former Moscow and Sochi laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov – relied upon by the IOC to impose widespread sanctions on Russian athletes for the 2018 winter Olympic Games – may have violated international law.

The panel did not question the credibility of the McLaren report, which the IOC used to impose the sanctions, but decided that suspending Zubkov and Tretiakov — who combined to win three gold medals at the 2014 Games in Sochi before they were stripped — “would be clearly unfair”.

The IBSF provisionally suspended the duo following the IOC’s decision, but those bans were then lifted and the independent panel’s decision is blocking those bans from being reinstated. In an intriguing twist, the IBSF ExCo took its arguments to the CAS, but today the federation (Thursday) issued a statement outlining that its appeal and urgent application for provisional measures had been rejected.

In its ruling, the CAS said it had “clearly no jurisdiction” to entertain the appeal filed by the IBSF in its case against Tretiakov, Nikitina, Mariia Orlova, Olga Potylitsina, Ilvir Khuzin, Alexander Kasyanov and Aleksei Pushkarev. The procedure has now been terminated and removed from the CAS roll.

The IBSF said: “As a consequence the above mentioned athletes will be allowed to slide in IBSF events such as World Cup, Europa Cup, North American Cup or Intercontinental Cup.”

However, the CAS ruling does not affect the sliders’ suspensions from next month’s Olympics in Pyeongchang.