LAUSANNE: Russian athletes, who had been denied an invitation the Olympic Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang, have filed a suit against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) demanding to urgently oblige the IOC to admit them to the Games, the Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd legal firm said on Tuesday in a statement.
The legal firm noted that the sanctioning nature of the IOC’s criteria for invitations to the Olympic Games, as well as the abuse of the organisation’s monopoly position also served as the basis for the Russian athletes’ suit.
The statement said, “Thirty-two Russian athletes, who did not receive an invitation to participate in the Olympics in Pyeongchang, filed a class action lawsuit against the IOC with the first instance court of the Tribunal in Lausanne, demanding to urge the IOC to admit them to participate in these Games. The foundation for the claim is non-transparent nature of the criteria applied, discrimination on the basis of citizenship, unlawful nature of the decision, as well as non-fulfillment of the CAS ruling, damage to reputation, dignity and professional careers.”
The court hearing on the appeals is scheduled for 04:00 GMT on Wednesday, the legal firm added.
In December, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over alleged state-sponsored doping scheme in the country and prohibited the Russian athletes to compete under the national flag in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, saying that only “clean” athletes may participate in the contest under a neutral flag.
So far, the IOC has invited 169 Russian athletes to compete in the upcoming Winter Games. The invitations have not however been extended to a number of leading Russian athletes.
“The parties are exchanging written submissions and a hearing is likely to be held on 7 February 2018. The Panel’s decision will be communicated as soon as possible thereafter,” the CAS added.
Last week, the CAS fully overturned the IOC ban for 28 Russian athletes and partially upheld the appeals against the ban from 11 others.
However, on Monday, the IOC Invitation Review Panel recommended that the committee not extend an invitation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to 15 Russian athletes and coaches, who were among those 28 acquitted.