Russian flag made by Johnin
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday reaffirmed an international sports ban against Russia for the country's role in a state-run doping scandal.
While the ruling was upheld, the Russian ban was halved from the initial four years levied in 2019 to just two years. The ban also dictates that the Russian flag and anthem will not be seen or heard at international sporting events for the next two years, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The ban also means Russia will have no formal presence at the 2021 Summer Olympics — originally scheduled for 2020 before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic altered the schedule — or the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Russian athletes are allowed to participate in the Olympic games under a neutral flag, and as long as they have no connection to the country's doping program.
The scandal was originally uncovered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which discovered that Russia was tampering with drug-testing data in Moscow. The ruling also bans Russia from bidding for any world championship events and bars Russian government officials, including Vladimir Putin, from attending events during the ban.
In 2016, a WADA-led investigation discovered that Russian athletes were involved in state-run doping programs from 2011 to 2015, including athletes participating in the 2012 and 2014 Olympic games.
After the reinstating of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), WADA discovered that Russian officials tampered with drug test results in 2018. This led to the initial four-year ban for Russian sports. Russia appealed to CAS, eventually getting the ban cut in half.
Russia's ban from international sports play ends on Dec. 16, 2022.