Russia’s name, flag, and anthem banned for the next two Olympics, athletes to compete as ‘neutral’ . . . again.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announces its decision to ban Russia from competing in the upcoming Olympics, while allowing its athletes to do so anyway,
Image: Getty Images

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Thursday that Russia cannot use its name, flag, or anthem in the next two Olympics or in any world championship for two years.

The Swiss court also cut Russia’s four-year doping ban to two years and will prohibit the country from bidding to host major sporting events for two years.

Russian athletes will still be able to participate at next year’s postponed Olympic games in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and other world sporting championships like the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar… so long as they are not caught doping.

Athletes can compete as “neutral” individuals or teams for the upcoming summer and winter games.

Russian athletes were neutral in the 2018 Winter Olympics too, after the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee due to state-sponsored doping.

But unlike the PyeongChang games, Russia’s “neutral” athletes and teams can wear their national colors on their uniforms and have “Russia” on their jerseys if “neutral” is also seen with equal display on the attire.

In the statement following the decision, the arbitrators wrote:

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. 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.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it was pleased to win the case. But “we are, however, disappointed that the CAS Panel did not endorse each and every one of our recommended consequences for the four-year period we requested,” WADA president Witold Bańka said in a statement. “We believe they were proportionate and reasonable, but ultimately WADA is not the judge but the prosecutor and we must respect the decision of the Panel.”

Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision a “weak, watered-down outcome.” Tygart also said the CAS ruling is “a catastrophic blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport, and the rule of law.”

The CAS decision also permits Russian government officials to attend global sporting events if they get the invite from the host country’s head of state.

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