Earlier today, it was announced that the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) had rejected the Russian appeal related to the August 7 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision to ban the Russian delegation from competing at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. In CAS’s ruling, they said the decision “did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the disciplinary process” and that the Russian appeal did not provide any evidence that contradicted the IPC’s rationale for banning them from participating.
A WADA investigation into Russian doping allegations found hundreds of problems, both for Paralympic and Olympic sport. The Russian government and the FSB security had facilitated doping efforts or actively covered up many of these problems. The doping program was in place from 2011 to 2015. The WADA investigation found, among things, that the Russian government had swapped samples out for Russian who had competed at the 2014 Winter Paralympics at the Sochi hosted Games. The IPC claims to have evidence of 44 sportspeople who had their samples tampers with by Russia in para-sports. These included including 27 cases of samples from eight sports on the Paralympic program in Rio.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was quoted by the ASS news agency as saying that the IPC and CAS decisions were more politically driven than judicial. He called CAS’s decision unlawful. Russian swimmer Oksana Savchenko was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying, “The [paralympic athletes] had been training, four years of their lives were destroyed by this court decision.”
IPC President Sir Philip Craven is quoted by various media sources as saying of the Russian actions, “Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me.” Craven was also quoted as saying, “Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. […] It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement but we hope also a new beginning.”
The only option left for the Russians at this point regarding participation would be to appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. Such an appeal would need to be on the basis of the legal processes not being done correctly, and would not be based on the merits of the Russian case.
With the conclusion of the appeal to CAS, the International Paralympic Committee can now re-allocate participation slots for the 267 ones that Russia had qualified for. These spots come at a time after the IPC had announced earlier in the month that funding problems as a result of Brazilian organizers not meeting their financial commitments could put at risk up to 10 countries from participating. These countries required grants and donations in order to fund their Paralympic participation. The IPC also announced that some services and venues would be changed as a result of Brazilian hosting issues, including a reduction in media services.