December 19, 2019 6:31:47 pm
Russia has signaled it will file an appeal against its four-year Olympic ban due to World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions which President Vladimir Putin on Thursday branded “unfair.”
The Russian anti-doping agency’s supervisory board voted Thursday to file an arbitration case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. WADA last week ruled Russia had manipulated doping laboratory data to cover up past offenses.
The decision must be approved by another panel of Russian sports and anti-doping figures, but that seems a formality. Most of the panel’s members, including the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee, have said they want an appeal.
The case could be sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within the next two weeks.
Senior political figures including President Vladimir Putin had signaled they wanted an appeal filed.
“We need to wait calmly for the relevant rulings, including the arbitration court ruling and we’ll know what position we’re in,” Putin said Thursday. “Russian athletes have been training and will keep training for all competitions.”
Putin said it was not fair to threaten Russia with more doping-related punishment, and that any sanctions should be on an individual basis. “I think it is not just unfair but not corresponding to common sense and law,” Putin said.
The WADA sanctions, announced last week, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Russia handed over the lab’s doping data archive in January in return for having earlier sanctions lifted in 2018. WADA investigators found evidence that Russia was intensively editing the data in the weeks before the handover to remove signs of failed drug tests and to plant fake messages.
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