The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld an appeal from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko against a lifetime ban imposed by the International Olympic Committee from participating in the Olympic Games.
The verdict was revealed by CAS today (Thursday) after Mutko lodged his appeal in January 2018. In December 2017, the IOC banned Russia from competing at the 2018 winter Olympics after finding evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping results surrounding the 2014 Games in Sochi.
The IOC also suspended Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member while Mutko – who was Sports Minister when the Sochi Games took place – was banned from participating at future editions of the Olympics.
Russia has consistently denied allegations of a state-sponsored doping system, but has admitted shortcomings in its enforcement of anti-doping regulations. Mutko has also dismissed such talk and told state news agency Tass today: “I am satisfied with the CAS ruling.”
Russian sports lawyer Artyom Patsev added: “A decision made by the IOC, particularly in regard to Vitaly Mutko, was illegal and had no grounds. Everything is now stated in detail in the court’s decision and the whole team of lawyers, all of us, are very happy because it was one of the major and most complicated cases.”
Mutko has since wound down his involvement in sports administration. In December he resigned as president of the Russian Football Union after stepping down as head of Russia’s Local Organising Committee for the 2018 Fifa World Cup six months before the tournament commenced.
Commenting on today’s decision, the IOC told the Reuters news agency: “The IOC takes note of the decision of CAS, which relates exclusively to the formal question of the sanctioning power of the IOC for people outside of the Olympic Movement.
“At the same time the decision makes it clear that the IOC retains the right of taking any decision in reference to any specific edition of the Olympic Games.”