Russian doping appeal gets closed-door hearing after April

The Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- There will not be a public hearing when Russia's appeal against widespread sporting sanctions goes before sport's highest court.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday the hearing will be held behind closed doors and will not take place before the end of April.

The case pits Russian officials against the World Anti-Doping Agency, which imposed four-year sanctions on Russia last year as punishment for a state-backed cheating scandal.

WADA had asked for a rare public hearing to examine evidence in the blockbuster case but CAS said no consensus could be reached on the request. WADA have accused Russian authorities of tampering with a database used by a Moscow laboratory in order to cover up doping cases.

In December, WADA banned Russia’s flag, team name and anthem from being used at Olympic Games and world championships for the next four years. Russian athletes can only compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under a neutral flag after proving their record is clean of doping and data tampering.

Handing over the database was a key demand by WADA 18 months ago toward finally resolving a doping and cheating scandal that has run since 2014 and tainted that year’s Sochi Winter Games in Russia.

Russia’s anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, filed a formal dispute at CAS after being ruled non-compliant by WADA in December.

A verdict from CAS’s three-man judging panel is expected ahead of the Tokyo Olympics which open on July 24.

Other parties now involved in the weighty case are the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, Russian Olympic and Paralympic bodies, International Ice Hockey Federation and “various individual Russian athletes,” the sports court said.

“A procedural timetable for the filing of written submissions has been established and will run until mid-April,” CAS said. “Directions with respect to the holding of a hearing will be issued at a later stage.”

Sport's highest court has held two public hearings since relaxing its rules to allow more scrutiny after a European Court of Human Rights ruling in 2018.

The first was requested by three-time Olympic champion swimmer Sun Yang, whose verdict in a doping case will be published Friday. The second open-court hearing was held Monday for Portuguese cyclist Andre Cardoso in another doping case.

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