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While I don't believe that "Russian = cheat" is a fair or reflective attitude to take, this decision does seem to be deliberately obtuse to the circumstances of the systematic doping that went on.

Also significantly, several athletes adjudged to have doped, are still being allowed to compete in competition which decides Olympic qualification (even though they won't be allowed in PyeongChang).

Banned athletes still competing in bobsleigh & skeleton 'a joke' - John Jackson
 

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Based on the CAS statements, I support the decision. IMO there needs to be very strong evidence to ban a person for life.


The mandate of the Cas panels was not to determine generally whether there was an organised scheme allowing the manipulation of doping control samples in the Sochi laboratory but was strictly limited to dealing with 39 individual cases and to assess the evidence applicable to each athlete on an individual basis.

"This does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent, but in their case, due to insufficient evidence, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi are reinstated."
 

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Justice for Russia! :D Russophobes in ruins. :bigcry: They need to allow the Russian anthem to be played at PyeongChang.

@RVilkas @Marlene etc... where you all at now?
First, each case is individual and will be judged differently, including by disciplinary panels/CAS and myself/other posters. I am on record condemning Mattek-Sands, Maria, Lepchenko (all US-based, two of them competing under the US flag), while supporting/finding mitigating factors for Strycova, Kozlova and Errani (Czech Republic, Ukraine, Italy), exactly because the circumstances and level of incriminating evidence was different. I have no particular sympathy for the players in the second group as tennis/personal favorites, and I couldn't care less if they come from Russia or an Eastern country in general.

In this case, it appears that CAS has ruled that they cannot ban the 28 athletes for life based solely on circumstantial evidence (i.e., simply because Russian authorities set up an environment for manipulating samples and because they systematically promoted doping at all levels of their athletes) without tangible proof that each condemned athlete was involved in and benefited from these schemes. Without having read the CAS decision yet, I am ambivalent on what should have been done because on one hand the principle of individual malfeasance is the correct one, but on the other hand there is a high likelihood that they were doping/switching samples.

Note that nowhere in the CAS decision as reported so far is the Russian system, as opposed to the individual athletes, vindicated in any way. CAS did not dispute that there was organized state-sponsored doping in Russia, and did not exonerate the athletes involved, only let them go for lack of evidence of being caught red-handed.

You should also keep in mind that Sharapova benefited from the same cautious approach requiring concrete evidence of wrongdoing before assigning penalties. Both the ITF panel and the CAS panel accommodated her claims about various things that were not very plausible (medical history, "take more before matches of special importance", disappearance of meldonium packaging, lack of understanding of what to put on the doping control forms, etc) because the evidence against her on these grounds was only circumstantial. In that respect, this CAS decision is not breaking new ground. Sharapova could have been stripped of her Grand Slam titles if the ITF and individual slam boards wanted to make an example of her, under the provisions of fair play in the grand slam rules.
 

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You should also keep in mind that Sharapova benefited from the same cautious approach requiring concrete evidence of wrongdoing before assigning penalties. Both the ITF panel and the CAS panel accommodated her claims about various things that were not very plausible (medical history, "take more before matches of special importance", disappearance of meldonium packaging, lack of understanding of what to put on the doping control forms, etc) because the evidence against her on these grounds was only circumstantial. In that respect, this CAS decision is not breaking new ground. Sharapova could have been stripped of her Grand Slam titles if the ITF and individual slam boards wanted to make an example of her, under the provisions of fair play in the grand slam rules.
:haha: Utter nonsense! Especially the last sentence. Try and stay in the real world will ya. SMH
 
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:haha: Utter nonsense! Especially the last sentence. Try and stay in the real world will ya. SMH
I know that you are a Maria fan, but please try to see things more objectively. There is nothing controversial in what I wrote in the first part of that paragraph. There were many instances where Maria's proferred explanations were accepted as fact, although circumstantial evidence or common sense reasoning might indicate otherwise. Some examples:


  • That she never actually read the relevant emails.
  • That she solely trusted Eisenbud with checking meldonium.
  • That Eisenbud forgot to do the check.
  • That she went to Dr. Skalny because she was ill and not because she was seeking performance enhancement.
  • That she suffered from heart problems early in her career.
  • That she lost/threw away the meldonium packaging.

For all those and more, I can give you citations from both decisions where the panel accepts her statements without questioning them, even though they could on a circumstantial basis. This is true for many statements submitted by other defendants in anti-doping cases, not just Maria. Basically, the defendant's story is accepted unless there is hard evidence against it.


Now regarding my last statement. I looked up the Official 2018 Grand Slam Rule Book, and you are correct that stripping a champion of her past titles is not explicitly provided for there. However there are the following provisions, in the Code of Conduct (pages 34ff.):


(Article III-Section R: Unsportsmanlike Conduct) Players shall at all times conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner and give due regard to the authority of officials and the rights of opponents, spectators and others. [...] In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, a single violation of this Section shall also constitute the Major Offence of “Aggravated Behaviour” and shall be subject to the additional penalties hereinafter set forth. For the purposes of this Rule, Unsportsmanlike Conduct is defined as any misconduct by a player that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the Sport.

(Article IV-Section A: Aggravated Behaviour) Violation of this Section by a player, directly or indirectly through a Related Person or others, shall subject a player to a fine of up to $250,000 or the amount of prize money won at the tournament, whichever is greater, and a maximum penalty of permanent suspension from play in all Grand Slam Tournaments.

(Article IV-Section B: Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game) f a player has at any time behaved in a manner severely damaging to the reputation of the Sport, including but not limited to the commission of a Major Offense or its equivalent under the relevant Codes of Conduct for ATP, WTA and/or ITF, he may be deemed by virtue of such behaviour to have engaged in conduct contrary to the integrity of the Game of Tennis [...] Violation of this Section by a player, directly or indirectly through a Related Person or others, shall subject a player to a fine up to $250,000 and/or to a maximum penalty of permanent suspension from play in all Grand Slam Tournaments.


So for example, if Wozniacki is discovered to have been sprinkling her competitors' energy drinks with some sleeping powder prior to their matches, materially affecting their level of play, I can see how this could be ruled "flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct" and "behavior severely damaging to the reputation of the sport" and therefore subject to a fine equal to her prize money for winning the AO. Technically, they wouldn't have revoked her title, because there is no such explicit provision in the rules, but for all practical purposes (including perception by the public) they would have.

Now could Sharapova's behavior have been deemed as "flagrant unsportmanlike conduct" and "severely damaging to the reputation of the sport"? By her own admission, she took a chemical drug (not a supplement) for ten years, with plenty of evidence that she was doing that for performance enhancing reasons, and while avoiding its declaration via the proper channels. The drug was not in the prohibited list, so she was not committing an antidoping rule violation by taking it. However, it could be very well argued that such conduct was unsportsmanlike by giving her an unfair advantage. I can see, and I hope you will agree, that people could determine that this falls under the provisions above, and fine her the sum total of all her slam winnings, effectively stripping her of her slams in the public eye. I am not saying that such an action would be the appropriate one, only that it was within the realm of possible actions for the GS Board.
 

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Sharapova could have been stripped of her Grand Slam titles if the ITF and individual slam boards wanted to make an example of her, under the provisions of fair play in the grand slam rules.
Sorry, no jurisdiction there.
 

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Sorry, no jurisdiction there.
What do you mean by "no jurisdiction"? I gave above the specific provisions of the Grand Slam Rule Book that gives authority to the Grand Slam Board to impose fines up to the total amount won by a player for "flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct". These rules applied to Maria when she won her slams (assuming that they were in similar form on the rule book when she did so, which I can't check but is reasonable to assume). There is a process specified in the Rule Book of first judgement by the Director of the Grand Slam Board, then player appeal and final judgment by the full Grand Slam Board (Article IV - Sections C to G). Unlike gambling and doping offenses, unsportsmanlike conduct / conduct contrary to the integrity of the game is determined solely by the GSB, with no appeal to CAS allowed.

It is indisputable that a good number of tennis fans have (rightly or wrongly) judged Maria's use of meldonium for ten years to be "unsportsmanlike conduct". Whether or not the GSB would have agreed with this and whether this conduct is at the "flagrant" level is a matter for debate. But there should be no question that the GSB had the jurisdiction and authority to proceed according to the provisions of its own rule book if it had chosen to do so.
 

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This was so predictable, even I could predict it. And I have almost 0% success rate in the WWW tennis threads :)

If the ban was upheld, a simple way to get someone banned - a competitor from another country, for example - would be to tamper with their doping samples, leaving the sample in place but putting marks on the bottle. No way to prove the original sample was negative -> instant life ban.
 

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This is called state sponsored but as the scheme is described by rodchenkov it’s almost entirely athlete driven. The crux of the scheme- the way the scheme allegedly worked is that the athlete must send their doping control number which is on the bottles to the ministry so they send them to rodchenkov so he knows the bottles! But no evidence has ever been produced of any athlete sending their number to the ministry or directly To rodchenkov which would make more sense especially for those on “duchess list.” Very comfortable saying after CAS this is the biggest fraud ever put over on ioc and wada and sports and it’s all because rodchenkov wants to stay out of prison for being a criminal drug dealer and knows being anti putin makes you beloved in the US and of course he is living incredibly privileged life now.
 

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I'm usually quite strict when it comes to doping issues, though I think the lifetime bans by the IOC were quite harsh. The athletes probably didn't have any other choice if they wanted to continue their sports careers in Russia. I think the circumstances made them dopers rather than being such blatant cheaters, and I found it somewhat unreasonable to ban them for life while the likes of Justin Gatlin are allowed to compete after multiple PED cases.

Though, the decision to reinstate their results is just a joke. The doping samples of the Russian team were manipulated and the only right decision would've been to disqualify the entire Russian team's results from Sochi. All that the Russians will end up is a minimal penalty of having to compete under the Olympic flag without their national anthem in PyeongChang. Quite a small penalty and expect nothing to change in Russia under Putin's presidency. The price to pay is too small. :no:
 

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Based on the CAS statements, I support the decision. IMO there needs to be very strong evidence to ban a person for life.


The mandate of the Cas panels was not to determine generally whether there was an organised scheme allowing the manipulation of doping control samples in the Sochi laboratory but was strictly limited to dealing with 39 individual cases and to assess the evidence applicable to each athlete on an individual basis.

"This does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent, but in their case, due to insufficient evidence, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi are reinstated."
Why should innocence be proved? what is this neo nazi shit by WADA that every one (russian) is guilty until proven otherwise?
 

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Why should innocence be proved? what is this neo nazi shit by WADA that every one (russian) is guilty until proven otherwise?
:confused: This isn't WADA and "not deemed innocent" doesn't mean "deemed guilty".
 

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:confused: This isn't WADA and "not deemed innocent" doesn't mean "deemed guilty".
But don’t you two agree?? Ioc is saying Russians are guilty until they can prove innocence not the usual innocent until proven guilty. I say innocent until they get the phone or email records with the sending of the doping control form/ bottle numbers.
 
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