Volume: 16 Issue: 6
On 1 February 2018, five days before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘CAS’) was facing heavy scrutiny from its critics. On that day, it was announced that the CAS Panel had decided to cancel the sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee (‘IOC’) Disciplinary Commission on 28 Russian athletes (out of 39 appeals decided by the CAS) resulting from the Sochi doping scandal. As a result, 28 Russian athletes were cleared to compete and were not facing any disciplinary consequences further to the alleged doping practices revealed by the McLaren Report. IOC President Thomas Bach was bitterly against the decision issued by the CAS and called for an urgent need to “reform” the CAS; IOC and ICAS member Dick Pound described the CAS decision not to sanction the 28 Russian athletes as “perverse.” At that time, such comments were made without knowing the grounds for the award, which were finally issued on 23 April 2018. In this article Claude Ramoni, Partner at Libra Law, explores some explanations on why the CAS came to the opposite conclusion to the IOC in the matter of those 28 Russian athletes.