Russia steps up legal fight against isolation in sport

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Russia has intensified its legal fight against isolation in sport because of the war in Ukraine

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russia stepped up its legal fight against isolation in sport due to war in Ukraine when its national Olympic body issued an urgent appeal on Friday to reverse a ban on its athletes from attending a festival. European winter sports for young people.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it was setting a timetable for the case ahead of the European Winter Youth Olympic Festival to be held in Finland from March 20-25.

Russian officials had promised to challenge bans on athletes imposed by most Olympic sports bodies this month, although no appeal to CAS has been announced regarding the world figure skating championships which will start on March 21. . The International Skating Union organizes this event in Montpellier, France.

The appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) challenges the European Olympic Committees, whose executive committee decided on March 2 to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes.

CAS said on Friday that the ROC had not requested an interim decision – so-called “interim measures” – to freeze the ban, suggesting the merits of the case could be decided within the next week.

The appeal joins Russian football in addressing the CAS to tackle the country’s sporting isolation following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian football federation has appealed against bans of national teams and clubs by FIFA and UEFA. The suspensions were imposed on March 1 hours after the International Olympic Committee urged sports bodies to take action against Russia.

The case for banning Russian athletes was reaffirmed on Friday by IOC President Thomas Bach in an open letter to international sports officials.

Bach said while it was clear that Russian athletes were not responsible for the war, the fairness and integrity of competitions where Ukrainians might not be able to participate had to be considered.

He also cited “the security risks for Russian and Belarusian athletes participating in international competitions, due to the deep anti-Russian and anti-Belarusian sentiments following the invasion”.

Bach also criticized those who made the “cheap argument” that the IOC broke its own rules of neutrality by politicizing the sport with its call to block Russian competitors.

“Anyone who so blatantly violates the Olympic Truce with political and even military means cannot denounce the consequences as politically motivated,” Bach wrote, referring to the pledge signed by the 193 United Nations member states, including Russia, before the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.

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More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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