An appeal filed by the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) against the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has been rejected by the Swiss Bundesgericht (the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland).

The Swiss court said the allegations by RPC that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had failed to consider the cases of Paralympic athletes on an individual basis were unfounded.

The Swiss Bundesgericht upheld the termination of RPC’s membership in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The highest court of Switzerland also ordered the Russian Paralympic Committee to pay 10,000 Swiss francs of legal costs and to reimburse the defendant with 12,000 Swiss francs.

In August 2016, the International Paralympic Committee suspended membership of the RPC after it found that the Russian Committee was unable to fulfill its obligations to combat doping in sport as well as alleged existence of state-sponsored doping support system in Russia. The decision of IPC was based on the WADA independent report that was compiled by Canadian Professor Richard McLaren into alleged state-sponsored cover up and manipulation of the doping control process.

In first part of the report, McLaren revealed that the work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory was allegedly aimed at protection of Russian athletes taking prohibited substances. It was also disclosed by McLaren that a system of samples swapping during the 2014 Winter Olympics was developed by the Sochi anti-doping laboratory.

After the report’s presentation, the International Paralympic Committee made its decision on August 23 that was later supported by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that did not find a reason to satisfy the appeal of the RPC. The Russian Paralympic Committee then appealed with the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland against the CAS verdict.

In another development, the IPC was praised by the WADA’s Independent Observer (IO) team’s report for its anti-doping program at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The report claimed the International Paralympic Committee implemented a number of anti-doping measures that could serve as an example to other anti-doping organizations and major event organizations. IO team chair Michael Petrou, President of the Cyprus Anti-Doping Authority, remarked the anti-doping program, which was implemented and overseen by the IPC, was able to achieve a number of positive outcomes in the face of challenging circumstances in Rio. The IO team, during their visit to Rio 2016 Olympics, monitored all aspects of the IPC’s anti-doping program, including test distribution planning, the selection of athletes for testing, athlete notification, and sample collection procedure and also oversaw the Therapeutic Use Exemption procedure and results management.

Peter Van de Vliet, the IPC’s scientific and medical director, said it is fair to say that in Rio we faced some extremely challenging circumstances which could not be compared to previous editions of the Games. Vliet added the IPC Anti-Doping Committee, IPC Medical Committee, and IPC anti-doping team did a tremendous job and he would like to thank them and the WADA IO team for their work in Rio.

The IPC introduced a blanket ban for Russian athlete prior to the Rio Olympics. Russia then decided to set up an alternative version of the Paralympics and the then Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko criticized the IPC at its Opening Ceremony in Moscow.

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