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On Eve of World Cup Opener, FIS Doping Panel Releases Statement

On Thursday, the International Ski Federation (FIS) Doping Panel released the following statement regarding the cases of the six Russian skiers sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee earlier this month. As it stands, the six athletes are able to compete in FIS-sanctioned races (but not the Olympics, which is the IOC’s jurisdiction). The FIS World Cup begins this Friday with the Ruka Triple mini tour in Kuusamo, Finland.

Below is the full press release:

“The IOC Disciplinary Commission recently issued its decisions (operative part) in the cases against Cross-Country skiers Alexander Legkov, Evgeniy Belov, Julia Ivanova, Evgenia Shapovalova, Alexey Petukhov and Maxim Vylegzhanin on 1 and 9 November. The commission has sanctioned them with disqualification from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and non-eligibility for future editions of the Games.

The IOC’s jurisdiction is restricted to the Olympic Games and in its decision the IOC Disciplinary Commission has mandated FIS “to modify the results of the above-mentioned events accordingly and to consider any further action within its own competence.” It is therefore the role of the International Ski Federation (FIS) to determine the consequences for the period outside the Games including the FIS World Cup and other FIS competitions.

These six athletes have previously been subject to a provisional suspension by the FIS Doping Panel as from 23 December 2016, a measure which was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), although limited until 31 October 2017 by the CAS decision.

Based on the CAS decision that the provisional sanctions were valid only until 31 October and its ruling stated the continuation or a new suspension is subject to a specific allegation of an anti-doping rule violation with corresponding evidence, according to legal procedures it is not possible and would be a contradiction of the CAS Award for the FIS Doping Panel to re-issue provisional suspensions on the basis of these operative decisions of the IOC Disciplinary Commission only, which are not recognised as evidence in themselves.

Consequently, the FIS Doping Panel is obliged to wait until the IOC Disciplinary Commission reasoned decisions are submitted with details of the evidence relied on, before it can take further actions with the cases. The additional investigations that have been carried out by FIS since December 2016, including examinations of previous testing and interviews with support personnel, have not produced sufficient evidence to open anti-doping rule violation cases.

The procedures of the FIS Doping Panel take into consideration to the greatest extent possible the fact that the FIS Cross-Country World Cup season begins on 24th November 2017, but it is not possible for the FIS Doping Panel to undertake actions, which do not respect the FIS Anti-Doping Rules that are compiled in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

As a consequence the active athletes are eligible to compete in FIS including World Cup competitions for the time being.

In response to other athletes’ obvious concerns about competing against potentially doped athletes, FIS can hereby confirm that the Russian Cross-Country Ski Association has implemented an independent anti-doping testing programme covering all Russian international level athletes, which since June 2017 additionally includes those who are outside the FIS Registered Testing Pool..

The anti-doping testing is outwith the hands of the Russian authorities for all international level athletes. Testing is carried out by a European independent specialist sample collection agency with the analysis of the samples carried out at the WADA accredited laboratories in Barcelona (ESP), Cologne (GER), Kreischa (GER), Stockholm (SWE) and Lausanne (SUI). Test distribution planning has been undertaken by the FIS Anti-Doping Expert in consultation with other independent specialists and the results management is handled directly by the FIS Anti-Doping department, with all results shared simultaneously with WADA. The Russian Ski Association has appointed a contact person in each discipline sub-association for anti-doping issues who has been trained by the FIS appointed anti-doping service agency to provide daily anti-doping support to their athletes.

Testing Statistics of FIS Testing on Russian Cross-Country athletes since June 2017 (these numbers do not include testing under the authority of National Anti-Doping Agencies):

Urine: 113
Blood: 25
ABP Blood: 121

FIS cannot issue any further information about the status of these cases until the FIS Doping Panel has undertaken further procedures in view of the right of confidentiality.

FIS Statement on Provisional Suspensions of Six Russian Cross Country Skiers
Decision on appeals of Russian Cross Country athletes
Decision on appeals of Russian Cross Country athletes Belov and Legkov
IOC Disciplinary Commission Decisions in cases of two Russian Cross Country Athletes
CAS decision on Six Russian Cross Country Athletes

Legkov Speaks Out: ‘My Medal is Clean’

Alexander Legkov went public yesterday, slightly less than a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled that he had doped at the 2014 Olympics, thus voiding his results there (including two medals) and banning him from any Olympics moving forward. On his Instagram page, several paragraphs of text (in English) accompanied a photo of Legkov, a Russian cross-country skier, holding his individual gold and relay silver medal from Sochi. Similar text appeared on his lawyers’ website, titled “Personal Statement by Alexander Legkov on the Decision of the IOC”. “It took me a long time to find words to describe what I feel,” Legkov, 34, began. “A few days ago, the IOC Oswald Disciplinary Commission decided to take away my medals, which I had won in Sochi 2014, and to impose on me and my teammate Evgeniy Belov a lifelong ban from the Olympic Games. The last few days I…

WADA Dismisses Cases of 95 Russian Athletes

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Norwegian Student Seeks ‘Athlete Transgression’ Survey Participants

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On Eve of World Championships, CAS Rejects Russian Athletes’ Appeals

On Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced it rejected the appeals of five Russian cross-country skiers — Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov — regarding their provisional suspensions handed down by the International Ski Federation (FIS) Doping Panel on Jan. 25 and Feb. 6. The five athletes had appealed in hopes of competing at 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships in Lahti, Finland, which start in earnest on Thursday. In Dec. 22, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened investigations against those athletes based on evidence of urine-sample tampering or sample manipulation during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, information that came from the second McLaren report. That same day, the FIS Doping Panel issued provisional suspensions for those athletes, and those suspensions were confirmed Jan. 25 and Feb. 6. “The decisions issued today are given in response to requests for provisional measures filed during the course…

IBU Suspends Russia’s Glazyrina

On Friday, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced the immediate provisional suspension of Russian biathlete Ekaterina Glazyrina as an outcome of the McLaren report investigation. Glazyrina, 29, recently raced at the IBU World Cup in Antholz, Italy, where she placed fifth in the women’s relay. Her best individual result this season was 12th in the World Cup pursuit in Pokljuka, Slovenia. “Following the publication of the McLaren Report – Part II on 9 December, the IBU established a working group to evaluate the Report and study the available documents,” an IBU press release stated. “It initiated specific follow-up actions in order to get more data with regard to the alleged anti-doping rule violations.” After collecting additional information and documentation, the working group decided that “an optional provisional suspension” should be implemented with regards to Glazyrina considering “several samples of the athlete may have contained prohibited substances and doping controls conducted by RUSADA may have been tampered, without limitation…

IBU Congress Rejects 8-Year Ban Proposal, Will Select New 2021 World Champs Host

On Wednesday, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) held what was dubbed an “Extraordinary Congress” in Fieberbrunn, Austria, where congress delegates from 46 IBU member federations voted on the three proposals from the athlete’s letter of January 13, 2017. Those proposals were: Longer bans (up to 8 years) for athletes convicted of anti-doping rule violations; Higher fines (up to 1,000,000 €) for member federations with athletes convicted of anti-doping offenses; Reduction of seasonal start quotas at World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic Winter Games competitions for member federations with one or more athlete anti-doping offenses According to a press release, “The Congress supported the athlete’s initiative for have stronger Anti-Doping Rules and harsher disciplinary sanctions on member federations, duly taking note of the WADA letter of 27th January, 2017. Prior to voting on the eight-year ban proposal, delegates received a WADA-issued letter from January 27, 2017, stating that ‘in order to comply with…

IBU Reverses Course, Calls for Extraordinary Congress to Discuss Doping (Updated)

After announcing on Saturday that no new policies regarding doping violations could be approved until the next Congress, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) faced widespread outcry from athletes. “Martin [Fourcade] walked out about 45 minutes into the meeting, as [IBU President] Besseberg answered [Michal) Slesinger’s question, ‘Do you believe this is an urgent situation?’” U.S. athlete Clare Egan explained in an email. “Besseberg essentially said ‘no,’ and repeated that the next Congress (2018) will deal with it. Once Martin left, others quickly followed. It was not planned.” The IBU Executive Board then met through the night on Saturday, and on Sunday morning came out with a new announcement: an Extraordinary Congress will be held before World Championships to vote on rule changes. The competitions at World Championships begin February 9 in Hochfilzen, Austria, and the Congress seems to be scheduled for the day before. Among the proposals by the athletes are…

IBU Delays Action on Athletes’ ‘Doping Letter’

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) Executive Board met in Antholz, Italy, today to discuss the organization’s ongoing response to the Russian doping scandal. Among the agenda items was a letter signed by 170 top biathletes urging the IBU to consider longer bans for doping offenses, a reduction of World Cup quota spots for countries with multiple offenses, and bigger fines for breaking the rules. The IBU took no direct action on these suggestions. “The proposals from the athletes’ letter, received on January 13th 2017, are appreciated and taken seriously. The proposals are now forwarded to the Legal Committee in order to draft proposals to the Executive Board for future rule amendments to be tabled at the next Congress,” the IBU wrote in a press release. Anders Besseberg: "We must act according to the rules we have today. We can not adopt a new rule every day" #biathlon — Valera Patotski…

The State of Doping in Biathlon Ahead of Saturday’s Executive Board Meeting

On Saturday, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Executive Board will hold a meeting in Antholz, Italy, to discuss their ongoing response to the McLaren report. That report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, contained references to at least 38 biathletes. Of those, several were Olympians; 13 positive doping tests were disclosed which apparently never resulted in suspensions; and seven samples from the 2014 Olympics showed signs of being tampered with. The IBU formed a working group to sift through the evidence and address concerns. To date, however, only two biathletes have been provisionally suspended. They are Iana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, medalists from Sochi who had since retired – which begs the question of what a provisional suspension even means. “I am sure that all my doping samples are clean and I have nothing to hide,” Romanova said in an interview with Russian news agency TASS. She has not competed since…