Russia loses appeal against Paralympics ban

Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:55am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - Russia has lost its appeal against a ban from next month's Rio Paralympics because of a state-sponsored doping program, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Tuesday.

The decision to exclude Russia's team, initially made on Aug. 7 by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the Sept. 7-18 event.

The IPC went further than the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which stopped short of a blanket ban on Russia at this month's Rio Games and left the decision instead in the hands of international sports federations.

CAS, sport's highest tribunal, said its panel found the IPC "did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the disciplinary process" which led to Russia's suspension.

It added the ruling was "proportionate in the circumstances" and that the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) "did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based".

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko called the CAS decision unlawful and politically motivated.

"There were no reasons to dismiss (the appeal) but it happened," Mutko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency before adding "those bodies that should defend Paralympians do not do it and punish them instead".

Russia can now appeal to the Swiss Federal Court although it can only overturn the CAS ruling on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.   Continued...

Performers carry the Russian national flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk/File Photo