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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

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