23rd January 2019

Zubkov steps down as President of the Russian Bobsled Federation

Alexander Zubkov has stepped down as President of the Russian Bobsled Federation after being sanctioned with a two year ban by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (ISBF). In its decision (PDF below), the IBSF outlined that Zubkov had been sanctioned as a result of urine being substituted in his sample, numbered 2889141 and provided on 23 February at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The situation surrounding Zubkov is perhaps a taster of the chaos that could befall international federations required to sanction athletes as a result of the data and samples retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Zubkov has refused to return his two Sochi 2014 gold medals to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Earlier this month, a Russian Court rejected an appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) against a November Russian Court ruling that a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to disqualify Zubkov from Sochi 2014 is not valid in Russia. 

On 22 April last year, the CAS published two decisions upholding an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) imposed on Zubkov, and upholding an appeal against a sanction from Alexander Legkov, a Russian skier. Its reasoning was that the salt content in Zubkov’s sample was physiologically impossible, whereas the salt content in Legkov’s sample was not. 

Russia’s Ministry of Sport posted allegations that the IOC had concealed evidence about Russian athletes not doping at the CAS…

Also, the CAS found that the diary of Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov records the swapping of Zubkov’s sample, by not Legkov’s. As such, it held that it could only be ‘comfortably satisfied’ that the IOC had proven that Zubkov’s sample had been manipulated. On Monday, Russia’s Ministry of Sport republished an interview suggesting that the IOC concealed evidence that Legkov had not doped from the CAS.

Zubkov has yet to announce it he will appeal the CAS decision to reject his appeal against the IOC’s decision to sanction him to the Swiss Federal Tribunal or, separately, whether he will appeal the IBSF sanction at the CAS. The IOC had asked the ROC to enforce the sanction against Zubkov, and the ROC’s view was that the November decision was a breach of the Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958). 

The Moscow Court’s decision means that Zubkov’s two Olympic Golds remain recognised in Russia. Not one of 12 disqualified Russian athletes returned a medal last year, and it remains to be seen whether the IOC can take action against the ROC for failing to uphold its rulings. 

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