Russia has reacted with anger after its bid to have a ban on its track and field athletes lifted to allow them to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ended in failure.
The Court for the Arbitration of Sport rejected the appeal made by the Russian Olympic Committee and 67 athletes Thursday, a decision that has led to the country’s sports minister calling for the disbanding of the world’s athletics governing body.
Russia was suspended from track and field events by the International Association of Athletics Federations — known as the IAAF — back in November 2015.
“It’s time to disband the IAAF,” said Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Twitter, who also tweeted ‘”Corrupt judges! How can you deprive clean sportsmen of their dream, and what’s more WADA didn’t present either facts or evidence.”
Yelena Isinbayeva — a two-time Olympic pole vault champion, has called on the IOC to have the final say after labeling the verdict as “purely political.”
“Thank you everyone for the funeral of athletics,” she said.
The IAAF suspension last year came after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which uncovered a culture of state-sponsored doping.
“Today’s judgment has created a level playing field for athletes,” said the IAAF in a statement Thursday.
“The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition.”
Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, added: “While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements.
“I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.
“Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and the organization’s executive board will now meet Sunday to discuss the CAS ruling and decide what sanctions to impose on the remainder of the Russian Olympic association and the country’s athletes.