BERLIN/MOSCOW (DPA) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has had his life ban from the Olympic Games lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Swiss-based organisation said on Thursday (July 11).
He was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in December 2017 over his role in a systematic Russian doping programme which impacted the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. He was Sports Minister at the time.
The CAS said his ban was invalid because as he was not an athlete, coach or official member of the Russian delegation and therefore outside their jurisdiction.
The honorary head of the Russian Olympic Committee said the removal of Mr Mutko’s ban was acknowledgement of Russia’s claim that there was no state doping programme.
This decision “confirms that there was no state sponsoring of doping in Russia, as we have always said”, Alexander Zhukov said in comments carried by state news agency Tass.
“I am very happy that the CAS took this position. The accusations against Russia that this was a state programme have always been unfounded. They were the fabricated claims of (Grigory) Rodchenkov after he himself organised this system,” he said, referring to the doping whistle-blower who lifted the lid on the Russian scandal.
Mr Mutko welcomed the removal of the ban in comments carried by state news outlet R-Sport. “I am satisfied with the decision made by the CAS,” he said.
An IOC statement noted the decision which it said “relates exclusively” to whether it can sanction people outside the Olympic movement.
And it added that the CAS decision alone would not provide him with a way to attend future Games, such as Tokyo 2020, as the IOC retained control of who it decided to invite.
Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in connection with doping, but 168 of its athletes were allowed to compete as neutrals. Russia was reinstated by the IOC three days after the Games.
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