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Russia banned from using name, flag for next two Olympics

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2014 file photo the Russian national flag, right, flies after it is hoisted next to the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The ruling on whether Russia can keep its name and flag for the Olympics will be announced on Thursday Dec. 17, 2020. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Wednesday that three of its arbitrators held a four-day hearing last month in the dispute between the World Anti-Doping Agency and its Russian affiliate, known as RUSADA. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, file)

Russia has been banned from competing or hosting international sporting events, including Olympics, for the next two years after a Swiss court upheld a ban from international regulators accusing the Russians of running a national doping scheme. 

A panel from the Court of Arbitration for Sport said they came to the unanimous decision that the Russian anti-doping agency had been non-compliant with world anti-doping standards and as such would be banned from competing under its own flag until Dec. 16, 2022.

“This Panel has imposed consequences to reflect the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance to the World Anti-Doping Code 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 (the World Anti-Doping Agency), this should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of or the Russian authorities,” the panel wrote. 

In a statement from WADA, President Witold Bańka said while the ban does not extend to the four years they requested, it still sends a clear message. 

“WADA is pleased to have won this landmark case. We left no stone unturned in investigating this very complex matter and in presenting our case before CAS. The Panel has clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow Laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalized doping scheme.

“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… These are still the strongest set of consequences ever imposed on any country for doping-related offences and the award clearly endorses the resolute, process-driven approach taken by WADA in dealing effectively with this case.

“Russia will not be permitted to participate in, bid for or host any covered event, including two editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and many other major events, for the next two years. The Russian flag will not fly nor its anthem played. This sends a clear message that institutionalized cheating and concerted efforts to subvert the global anti-doping system will not be tolerated.”

Russian athletes may still participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics this summer, and the Winter Olympics in Beijing or World Cup hosted in Qatar in 2022, so long as they have not been tied to the doping scheme and compete under a neutral flag.