Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Olympic Committee Loses IOC Suspension Appeal

A member of security guards a Russian Olympic committee building in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.
A member of security guards a Russian Olympic committee building in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Russia’s Olympic Committee lost its appeal Friday to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the International Olympic Committee's suspension of Russia for incorporating four sports bodies representing occupied areas of eastern Ukraine.

The CAS rejected the appeal Friday, saying that the IOC suspension "did not breach the principles of legality, equality, predictability or proportionality."

The IOC responded to the rejection of the appeal in a statement, saying that they are pleased that the CAS confirmed the decision to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee.

The IOC said that their executive board's 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 authority of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine."

The four regions were Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, all fully or partially occupied by Russian forces since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

The ROC appealed to the CAS to revoke the ban, to be recognized as a valid National Olympic Committee and to get all rights associated with that status.

Last October, the ROC issued a statement on the ban through the Telegram platform, saying that the IOC decision was "counterproductive with obvious political motivations," adding that the ROC "reserves the right to protect its own interests, as well as the interests of athletes and organizations of a sovereign country, which we represent in good faith."

The ban the ROC appealed removed Russia's right to funding, but individual athletes from Russia are still allowed to compete in this year's Paris Olympics as long as they present themselves as neutral, with no Russian flags, banners or emblems.

Russia can still appeal to the Swiss supreme court against the ban, according to the CAS, who said that the panel's "decision is final and binding except for the parties' right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds."

Both Russia and Belarus had initially been banned from participating in the Olympics entirely, due to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and Belarus' role in it.

However, the IOC said it didn't want to punish athletes for the actions of their governments, so athletes from both countries can still compete individually, without representing their country.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.