The Latest: Germany’s sports minister urges ‘hard decisions’


The Latest on Russia’s appeal against the Olympic ban on its track and field athletes (all times local to Rio de Janeiro):

12:30 p.m.

German Sports Minister Thomas de Maiziere says that “now is the time for hard decisions and not for generosity” after a ban on Russia’s track and field team from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

De Maiziere, who is also Germany’s interior minister, says the “ball is now in the IOC’s court” after the CAS ruling on an appeal against the ban by 68 Russian track and field athletes.

Germany’s Olympic committee president Alfons Hoermann says the CAS verdict is a “clear signal to the IOC.”

Hoermann expects the International Olympic Committee to ban the entire Russian team, saying “where we have systematic cheating, we also must have systematic punishment.”

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12.20 p.m.

Leaders from 14 anti-doping agencies across the globe are urging the International Olympic Committee to ban the entire Russian team from the games in Rio de Janeiro.

In a letter sent to IOC President Thomas Bach, leaders of the agencies applauded the IOC for the measures it has already taken, but said they fall well short of the “toughest sanctions available” that Bach spoke of following the report into Russian doping by WADA investigator Richard McLaren.

The toughest sanctions, according to the agencies, would be for the IOC to use its authority to ban the entire team.

Among the countries represented in the letter were the United States, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Austria.

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11:35 a.m.

Russian athletes and officials are supporting long jumper Darya Klishina, who could be their country’s only track and field competitor in next month’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Klishina was exempted from Russia’s track and field ban by the IAAF because she lives in the United States and is drug-tested there.

Some Russian fans have rounded on Klishina, calling her a traitor and demanding that she refuse her place at the games.

But world high jump champion Maria Kuchina says she will “obviously” support Klishina, while hurdler Vera Rudakova says “I don’t think she’s a traitor…We’ll cheer her on.”

Yuri Borzakovsky, the head coach of Russia’s track and field team, says he is in contact with Klishina and backs her to succeed.

The IAAF has also allowed doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to race, but the 800-meter runner is struggling with injury and has not set a competitive time this year.

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10:28 a.m.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says that a committee will be formed to consider the report produced by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren, who accused Mutko’s ministry of overseeing doping of the country’s Olympic athletes.

“As for what is mentioned in this report, the government will shortly set up an ad-hoc commission which will examine this,” Mutko told reporters.

McLaren’s report was released Monday.

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10:10 a.m.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the country’s athletes who are banned from competing in next month’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could go to a civil court to try and overturn the ban.

The announcement comes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an earlier ruling to ban the Russian track and field team from competing in Rio.

Mutko says in a televised briefing in Moscow that “I think it’s maybe the time to go to a civil court.”

Mutko adds that Russia’s athletes will continue to “defend their honor and dignity” even though any legal proceedings may not be held before the games begin on Aug. 5.

Russia has the right to appeal to the Swiss federal tribunal within 30 days.

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9:50 a.m.

The head of Russia’s track and field federation says he will continue to work on anti-doping reforms in the hope of returning to international competition after the Olympics.

Russia was banned by the IAAF in November following allegations of widespread, state-sponsored doping, a ruling upheld for the Olympics on Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin says his federation will “continue to do everything to get back the trust of the IAAF and the IOC” and does not plan further legal action against the ban.

After the Rio Olympics, “there will be communication, certain meetings and dialogues and anyway we have to get back there … and keep moving,” he says.

Shlyakhtin this year replaced longtime federation head Valentin Balakhnichev, who has been banned by the IAAF for his role in extorting money from a Russian athlete facing a doping ban.

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8:45 a.m.

Pole vault world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva says Russia’s Olympic track and field ban means the games will be devalued with only “pseudo-gold medals” available.

The two-time Olympic champion had been aiming for her fifth games and was a leading voice in calling for its ban to be overturned, even speaking at Tuesday’s Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.

In comments on her Instagram page, Isinbayeva suggests some of her foreign rivals could be doping and wanted Russia banned to make the competition easier.

Isinbayeva says “let all these pseudo-clean foreign athletes breathe a sigh of relief and win their pseudo-gold medals without us … They’ve always been frightened of strength.”

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8:20 a.m.

A Crimean athlete who switched allegiance to Russia two years ago says she doesn’t know “whether to laugh or cry” after her new team was ruled out of next month’s Olympics.

Vera Rebrik won gold in the javelin at the European Championships for Ukraine before switching allegiance to Russia following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

She won a long legal battle to have her nationality switch recognized earlier this year, and was one of 68 athletes on the Russian Olympic track and field team.

Rebrik tells Russian state broadcaster Match TV that “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry … I can’t find the words.”

Rebrik adds that she considers a blanket ban on the Russian team to be “an unfair ruling against clean athletes.”

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8:15 a.m.

Russia has canceled a ceremonial send-off for its Olympic athletes heading to Rio, as the prospect of a ban for Russia’s whole team looms.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday upheld a ban on Russia’s track and field team imposed due to widespread doping.

That ruling could encourage some international sports officials calling for a ban on Russia’s entire delegation across all sports, following allegations the government organized a mass doping cover-up.

The Russian Olympic team’s chef de mission for Rio, Igor Kazikov, tells the R-Sport news agency that a send-off ceremony planned for Friday has been canceled and “we need to see what’s what” before rescheduling it.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin would not take part in a previously scheduled meeting with Russia’s Olympians.

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8:05 a.m.

The three lawyers who unanimously rejected the appeal by Russia’s track and field federation and 68 athletes against their Olympic exclusion by the IAAF come from Italy, Britain and the United States.

They are three of the most experienced judges on the court’s list of around 400 approved arbitrators.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, whose department is deeply implicated in the allegations of state-backed doping, dismissed the ruling as “political and one with no legal basis.”

The panel chairman was Milan-based Luigi Fumagalli. Among previous cases, he sat on the panel which upheld FIFA’s four-month ban on Luis Suarez for biting an opponent at the 2014 World Cup.

James Robert Reid is a retired judge from England who has chaired the Premier League disciplinary committee. He sat in judgment of Pakistan cricket player Salman Butt’s failed appeal to CAS against a ban for fixing.

Jeffrey Benz from Los Angeles is a former legal adviser to the United States Olympic Committee.

The panel’s legal advice is not binding on the IOC, whose executive board will discuss the issue again on Sunday.

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7:56 a.m.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt says Russian athletes being banned from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics will “scare a lot of people” thinking about doping.

A Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling earlier Thursday confirmed an IAAF ban on Russian track and field athletes from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Bolt, the winner of six Olympic gold medals, says “this will scare a lot of people, send a strong message.”

The IOC is also mulling whether to follow the IAAF’s decision and ban the entire Russia team from Rio over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Bolt says recent actions by authorities show that “if you cheat or if you go against the rules” then “serious action” will be taken.

The world’s fastest man was speaking in London ahead of a Diamond League meet where he will compete in the 200 meters on Friday.

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7:35 a.m.

An IAAF rule to create Olympic exceptions for a select few Russian athletes caused unease for the appeal judges.

The three-member Court of Arbitration for Sport judging panel “was concerned about the immediate application with retroactive effect” of a rule that track and field’s governing body created last month.

It allows for Russian athletes who have been subjected to regular anti-doping tests outside the Russian system in recent months to apply for exemptions to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Two athletes — Yulia Stepanova, an 800-meter runner and key whistleblower in exposing a Russian state doping program, and Florida-based long jumper Darya Klishina — have been passed eligible by the IAAF.

The CAS panel says this rule based on “prior activity … left no possibility in practice, and as applied, for the Claimant Athletes to be able to try to comply with them.”

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7:30 a.m.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva says banning Russia’s track and field team from next month’s Rio de Janeiro Games represents the “funeral” of her sport.

In comments to Russian state news agency Tass, Isinbayeva says ironically: “Thank you everyone for the funeral of athletics. It’s a pure political decision.”

Isinbayeva, who represented Russian athletes at Tuesday’s hearing in Switzerland, says there is “nothing concrete” behind the ruling to uphold the ban.

Isinbayeva appealed to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to overturn the ban.

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7:20 a.m.

The IOC says it will “study and analyze” the court ruling that upholds the ban on Russian track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics.

The IOC says it “takes note” of the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reject Russia’s appeal against the ban imposed by the IAAF over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

The International Olympic Committee says: “We will now have to study and analyze the full decision.”

The IOC adds that a “decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days.”

The IOC has scheduled an executive board meeting on Sunday to consider its options

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7:10 a.m.

The IAAF says the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling to confirm a ban on Russia “has created a level playing field for athletes.”

The verdict “upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition,” the Monaco-based body says in a statement.

The IAAF first banned the Russian track and field federation, and its athletes, from international competition in November following allegations in a World Anti-Doping Agency inquiry report of state-organized doping and cover-ups.

The ban was confirmed in June, when the IAAF also said the culture of obstructing anti-doping tests in Russia had not changed.

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7:00 a.m.

Hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov, who was on Russia’s track and field team for next month’s Olympics, tells The Associated Press he is “very sad” to miss the games but hopes the team’s ban will mean more serious reforms.

Litvinov, who was fifth at last year’s world championships, says he’ll “try not to lose motivation for next year.” He says Russian athletics officials failed to act on doping in time and hopes “that this situation can encourage the management” to continue reforms.

Litvinov, who has been an outspoken campaigner against drug use in Russian sport, calls on international sports authorities to investigate more cases of doping in other countries, claiming in some throwing events “no one knows who really finished in which place” at major competitions.

He adds: “I want all (doping) systems to be shut down. Not just ours, but all of them.”

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6:45 a.m.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the decision to ban Russian track and field athletes from competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was “political.”

Under Thursday’s ruling in Lausanne, 68 Russian track and field athletes who were applying to compete in Rio will not be going to the Olympics.

Mutko told the Tass news agency that Russia will consider its further actions and lashed out at the verdict as unfair.

“In my view, it’s a subjective decision, somewhat political and one with no legal basis,” he was quoted as saying.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow regrets the court’s decision.

Dmitry Peskov expressed regret over the ruling, adding that applying “collective responsibility (to all athletes) can hardly be acceptable.”

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6:30 a.m.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe says he is “thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported.” That response comes after a three-member Court of Arbitration for Sport judging panel upheld the IAAF’s right to ban the Russian track and field federation and its athletes from international competition, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The International Association of Athletics Federations president adds “this is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.”

The CAS panel issued an urgent verdict, two days after Tuesday’s appeal hearing, without giving detailed reasons.

The court says those reasons should be “issued as soon as possible.”

That is likely before the IOC executive board discusses Sunday whether to impose a blanket ban on all Russian teams from the Olympics next month.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb says: “our decision is not binding on the IOC.”

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6:15 a.m.

Russia has lost its appeal against the ban on its track and field athletes from competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the appeal by 68 Russian track and field athletes seeking to overturn the ban imposed by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

The ruling could influence whether the entire Russian Olympic team is banned from the games.

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5:25 a.m.

An appeals court is set to rule on the ban imposed on Russia’s track and field athletes for next month’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is scheduled to issue a verdict Thursday in the case of 68 Russian track and field athletes seeking to overturn the ban imposed by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

The Russian appeal was heard by a CAS panel on Tuesday.

The appeal questions the validity of the IAAF decision and seeks to ensure the participation in Rio of athletes who are not accused of any doping violation.

The ruling could influence whether the entire Russian Olympic team is banned from the games.

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