Russia banned from using its name, flag at Olympics, World Championships for next two years

The Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete under Russia's name, flag or anthem. However,  the name Russia can be retained on uniforms if the words Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team" have equal prominence.

Russia banned from Olympics
Russia banned from Olympics

Russia was banned on December 17, 2020 from using its name, flag and anthem at the next two Olympics or any world championships for the next two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport's ruling has also blocked Russia from bidding to host any major sporting events for two years.

Despite the ban on Russia, the Russian athletes and teams will be allowed to compete at all International events in the next two years as neutral athletes including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, the world championships and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, if they are not implicated in doping or covering up positive tests.

Important Details 

The Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete under Russia's name, flag or anthem. 

However, the name Russia can be retained on uniforms if the words Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team" have equal prominence.

The current punishment is reportedly much less than the four-year ban proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Why has Russia been banned?

The three judges of the Court of Arbitration for Sport imposed the most severe penalties on Russia after allegations of state-backed doping and cover-ups emerged after the 2014 Sochi Olympics. 

The case is centered on allegations that the Russian state authorities tampered with Moscow testing laboratory's database before handing it over to WADA investigators in 2019. 

The case contains likely evidence to prosecute long-standing doping violations.

The case process was formally between WADA and the Russian anti-doping agency, known as Rusada, which was ruled non-compliant last year. The decision was further upheld by the three judges on December 17.

The Russian anti-doping agency was also ordered to pay $1.27 million to WADA. 

Russia has also been stripped of hosting world championships in the next two years. The governing bodies have been advised to find a new host unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so.

Further, the ruling allows Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin, to attend major sporting events if invited by the host nation's head of state.

The Case: Key Highlights 

During a four-day hearing in Lausanne in November 2019, Russian athletes and their lawyers who took part as third parties argued that they should not be punished for misconduct by state officials not working in sports.

Rusada was supposed to give WADA the Moscow testing lab database by December 2018. The WADA investigators eventually got the data one month late and evidence of doping tests and emails appeared to have been deleted or changed and the state authorities were implicated.

WADA investigators went to Moscow two years ago to collect the database and began verifying evidence that would help sports governing bodies prosecute the suspected doping violations. 

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