14 December 2016

CCES & USADA planned CAS appeal against IOC decision not to ban Russia

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) engaged a law firm to prepare an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to allow certain Russian athletes to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics, according to documents published by the Fancy Bears hack team. The emails and documents, held by The Sports Integrity Initiative, reveal that USADA and CCES engaged Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on ‘Project Olympian’, which explored the feasibility of such an appeal.

It appears that USADA and CCES were forced to cover the C$15,572.12 (€11,160) cost of engaging the law firm, after other national anti-doping agencies (NADOs) didn’t support the idea of an appeal at the CAS. Fourteen NADOs – including CCES and USADA – had already written to the IOC on 21 July urging it to ban Russia. A day later, an email published by Fancy Bears reveals that the CCES and USADA emailed NADOs in Austria, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Korea and Spain seeking support for a CAS appeal should the IOC decide not to ban Russia.

On 25 July, the IOC took the decision to allow Russian athletes who could prove that they were untainted by systemic Russian doping to compete in Rio. By the start of the Rio Games on 5 August, an IOC Review Panel decided that 271 Russians met its criteria to compete in Rio. ’With no additional NADO support for the CAS litigation against the IOC and thus no actual CAS case to commence, the full cost of the preparatory work falls to CCES and USADA to fund’, reads a 31 August 2016 email published by Fancy Bears.

An additional email, dated 5 September, details frustration with the IOC’s approach to the issue. ‘We should propose a UNESCO Treaty on integrity in sport which commits the governments to an integrity unit that has authority over the IOC and provides that the signatories will reject holding the Olympics in their country unless the IOC amends its charter to adopt the provisions of the treaty’, it reads. However, it appears that this email may have just been an initial frustrated reaction to the situation rather than a serious suggestion.

Yesterday, The Sports Integrity Initiative asked USADA and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP to confirm the existence of Project Olympian, which Fancy Bears claims is still in operation. There was no response at time of press.

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