Lausanne, 29 May 2017 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued decisions in the arbitration procedures involving six Russian cross country skiers – Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexander Legkov, Evgeniy Belov and Julia Ivanova. The CAS Panels in charge of the matters have decided to maintain the provisional suspensions imposed on the athletes until 31 October 2017, at the latest.
In the absence of any anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) having been assessed against any of the athletes so far, the temporary suspension shall lapse and the athletes shall be allowed to compete again.
A further provisional suspension may be imposed on the athletes by the International Ski Federation (FIS) after that date, if the facts and circumstances so merit, and would be subject to appeal.
On 22 December 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened investigation procedures against the athletes further to evidence presented in the second McLaren Independent Investigation Report that urine samples provided by the athletes during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games may have been tampered with, by manipulation of samples in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Sochi. The same day, FIS provisionally suspended the athletes.
The FIS Doping Panel confirmed such suspensions on 25 January 2017 (Petukhov, Shapovalova, Legkov and Belov) and 6 February 2017 (Vylegzhanin,and Ivanova). Shortly afterwards, the athletes filed appeals at the CAS against the FIS Doping Panel’s decisions. On 15 May 2017, the Panels in charge of the cases involving Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov held hearings at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The parties in the case of Ms Ivanova did not request a hearing and the Panel in charge of her case issued its decision based on the written submissions submitted by the parties. The Panels in charge of these matters have noted that the reports following the investigations conducted by a special IOC commission would be delivered during the summer period and found that it was necessary to allow the FIS time to complete its own investigation before issuing its final decisions concerning the six athletes.
The CAS Panels have maintained the provisional suspension imposed on each athlete until 31 October 2017 at the latest, unless any ADRV sanction is imposed against them by FIS before that date. Should the athletes not be found to have committed any ADRV before that date, then they will be restored to the status quo ante prevailing at the time of the imposition of the temporary suspension.