Court overturns life bans given to Russian athletes ahead of Winter Olympics.

A decision to overturn the Olympic life bans of 28 Russian athletes “may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping”, says the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) overturned the IOC suspensions – for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics – partially upholding 11 other appeals.

Cas said that in 28 cases evidence was “insufficient” to prove doping.

The IOC said it would consider its own appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

Cas said that for the 11 athletes whose appeals had been partially upheld, evidence “was sufficient to establish an anti-doping rule violation” had taken place.

It said they would be “declared ineligible” for this month’s Games “instead of a life ban from all Olympic Games”.

The IOC said that the Cas ruling “does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited” to this month’s Games in Pyeongchang.

It expressed its “satisfaction on one hand and disappointment on the other” at Thursday’s decision, made eight days before the 2018 Winter Olympics begin in South Korea.

“On the one hand, the confirmation of the anti-doping rule violations for 11 athletes because of the manipulation of their samples clearly demonstrates once more the existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014,” a statement added.

“On the other hand, the IOC regrets very much that – according to the Cas press release – the panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases.

“This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping.

“Therefore, the IOC will analyse the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.”

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