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Russia appeal against Olympic ban dismissed by CAS

February 23, 2024

The IOC's decision to ban Russia's Olympic Committee for recognizing four annexed regions was upheld in sport's highest court. The decision has ramifications for the Paris 2024 Olympics, but not necessarily for athletes.

The Russia Flag colors with the the Olympic Rings below
Russian and Belrusian athletes can compete at the Oympics under a neutral flagImage: Mike Egerton/empics/picture alliance

Russia lost its appeal against an International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspension for recognizing regional organizations from territories annexed from Ukraine.

On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the IOC's ban of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October 2023 had been legitimate.

Russia's decision to recognize four annexed Ukrainian regions as their own Olympic councils led to their ban.

What was the IOC's reaction?

"The IOC is pleased that the CAS confirmed the IOC Executive Board decision on 12 October 2023 to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee," the governing body said following the ruling.

"The IOC EB (Executive Board) decision followed the unilateral decision taken by the ROC on 5 October 2023 to include, as its members, the regional sports organizations which are under the authority of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, which constitutes a breach of the Olympic Charter."

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Meanwhile, CAS added: "The CAS Panel in charge of this matter dismissed the appeal and confirmed the challenged decision, finding that the IOC EB  did not breach the principles of legality, equality, predictability or proportionality."

What is the impact of Russia's suspension?

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, denounced the measure as politically motivated when it was first made.

The suspension has a direct impact on making the ROC ineligible for funding and rules Russia out from being associated with the Olympic movement. However, it does not affect decisions relating to Russian athletes' participation in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned in 2022 from competing internationally following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which saw Belarus used as a staging ground.

However, in 2023, the IOC issued recommendations for international sports governing bodies to allow Russians and Belarusians to return, competing as individual athletes with no flag, emblem or anthem. The IOC has said athletes should not be punished for the actions of governments.

km/mp (AFP, Reuters)