find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
The law behind Russia's Olympics doping scandal

The law behind Russia's Olympics doping scandal

Tim Fuller

The legal framework for international sports has been put to the test in the International Olympic Committee’s ruling on Russia’s eligibility for the 2016 Olympic Games, writes Tim Fuller.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this week decided against a blanket ban of all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympic Games for state-operated doping programs.

The Russian athletic team had previously been deemed ineligible to compete at Rio, and it was anticipated that the IOC may entirely ban Russia from competing. Instead, the IOC will leave the matter in the hands of international sports federations (IFs) to make a decision on respective sports and individual competitors from Russia as to their eligibility to compete at Rio.

In 2015 the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended the All-Russia Athletics Federation from IAAF membership. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) challenged this ban by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Athletes whose national federation is suspended by the IAAF are ineligible for competitions under the IAAF rules and in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The CAS panel last week confirmed the validity of the IAAF’s decision, which effectively means that Russia will not have track and field athletes competing in Rio.

The IOC has been lambasted for adopting a ‘half-pregnant’ approach to Russian state-sanctioned doping. The recent investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that Russian laboratories operated a system that enabled doped Russian athletes to compete at previous Olympic Games. Incredibly, the Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes’ analytical results or sample-swapping, with the active assistance of Russian laboratories.

The ban on the Russian track and field team required the IOC to have a legal right to sanction. The Olympic Charter provided this, and the proof of doping established in the WADA report was unequivocal. The ROC appealed the decision of the IAAF to the CAS, presenting an opportunity to have specific legal issues of the IAAF rules heard and adjudicated on. In respect of procedural fairness, the IOC has acted correctly.

Despite this though, 25 other sports were implicated in doping in the WADA report, and the methodology designed by Russian authorities to prevent outsiders from detecting what was going on in laboratories. While athletics is undoubtedly the main culprit, it is impossible to ignore the disappearance of positive test results that WADA found in sports like cycling, weightlifting, rowing and swimming – and twenty-odd other sports as well.

The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism and to lead the Olympic Movement. The role of the IOC is to ensure, inter alia, good governance in sport and that a spirit of fair play prevails. While the news out of Rio is not much chop with the zika virus, polluted waterways and uninhabitable accommodation, the Rio Games may ultimately be remembered as the Olympics in which a country that doped its athletes was allowed to compete, and most likely win.

Tim Fuller is a sports lawyer with Mills Oakley and a former NRL player.

 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

The law behind Russia's Olympics doping scandal
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...