Russia banned from using flag, anthem at Olympics for 2 years

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Russia will be banned from using its flag or national anthem at major international sporting events like the Olympics for the next two years, down from the initially imposed ban of four years, following a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The ruling on the appeal to CAS by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) comes a little over a year after WADA first announced sanctions for Russia following the emergence of evidence that a Moscow anti-doping lab had tampered with data before it was given to WADA investigators early last year.

In December of 2019, WADA’s executive committee endorsed the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee to declare RUSADA non-compliant for the next for years, preventing Russia from competing as a national team at major international events, including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

RUSADA appealed that decision and CAS delivered its judgment on Thursday.

“This Panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance [to the WADC] and to ensure that the integrity of sport against the scourge of doping is maintained,” read the ruling from CAS. “The consequences which the Panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by WADA. This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA or the Russian authorities. In making its orders, the Panel is limited by the powers granted under the applicable law, in particular the WADC and the ISCCS. It has considered matters of proportionality and, in particular, the need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes to participate in clean international sport.”

As a result of the decision, Russia will also be barred from hosting Olympic or world championship competitions and various Russian government officials will be banned from attending those events for the next two years.

Russian athletes will still be able to compete in the major international sporting events from which the Russian flag and anthem are banned providing those athletes “not be subject to suspension, restriction, condition or exclusion imposed by a competent authority in any past or future proceedings which remains in force at the time of the specified event.”

This was also the case the last time the Russian national team was given a ban from international competition. Those Russian athletes permitted to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics did so under the designation of “Olympic Athlete from Russia.”

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