CAS Puts Andrusenko and Kudashev Back In Tokyo Olympics In Dismissal Of FINA Temporary Suspensions Based On WADA Evidence From Moscow Lab
The “In, Out, Back In” cycle that applied to Russian swimmers in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is back in fashion, the Court of Arbitration for Sport – CAS – having dismissed evidence supplied by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to allow Veronika Andrusenko (nee Popova) and Alexandr Kudashev to compete at the Tokyo 2020ne Games after all.
FINA lifted temporary suspensions on the two swimmers after a Sole-Arbitrator process at CAS conducted by Rui Botica Santos, an Attorney-at-law in Lisbon, concluded without explanation that Andrusenko and Kudashev, represented by Paul J. Greene, and Matthew Kaiser, Attorneys-at-law at Global Sports Advocates LLC, Portland, in the USA, were free to go.
The ‘operative-decision’ document announcing the CAS decision, issued by FINA but not yet posted on the CAS website, includes a heading “On These Grounds” but underneath that heading does not offer any grounds, only the decision to dismiss FINA’s temporary suspension of the swimmers and send the bill to FINA.
The international swimming regulator imposed the temporary suspensions based on information supplied to it by WADA in connection with its inquiries into the Moscow anti-doping laboratory at the heart of the Russian doping scandal. The crisis underpins a ruling that any Russians allowed to compete in Tokyo must do so under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flag of neutrality. The full ruling from CAS may offer an explanation of the cases that has not yet been provided.
FINA issued the following statement:
FINA to implement CAS decision on ROC Swimmers
Two athletes that were provisionally suspended by FINA ahead of the swimming competitions of Tokyo 2020 have been cleared to compete by the Court of Arbitration in Sport. The athletes are Alexandr KUDASHEV (ROC) and Veronika ANDRUSENKO (ROC).
FINA asserted ADRVs against the athletes and provisionally suspended them on the basis of evidence supplied by WADA, and stemming from WADA’s examination of materials recovered from the former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, including the Laboratory Information Management System. Evidentiary packages had not previously been supplied against these athletes when WADA prosecuted the strongest cases resulting from its Operation LIMS for sanctioning.
“FINA fully recognises CAS as the independent adjudicatory body in cases such as these. We’re grateful for their quick consideration of this matter, and we will both respect and implement CAS’s decision. FINA is also grateful to WADA for its diligence in bringing the Operation LIMS information to our attention. As a proud signatory of the WADA Code, we were duty-bound to follow up quickly and carefully on the material provided,” said FINA President Husain Al-Musallam. “FINA remains fully committed to protecting clean athletes and promoting clean competition at Tokyo 2020, just as we do for all the events on our calendar.”
FINA’s out of competition testing and test distribution planning are handled by the International Testing Agency, which also handles the Tokyo 2020 anti-doping programme on behalf of the IOC. FINA is thankful for the ITA’s efforts which have ensured that, despite the circumstances of the pandemic, an effective volume and targeting of out-of-competition testing has been maintained in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.
Memories of Rio 2016
Seven Russian swimmers were suspended on grounds of WADA evidence from investigations into the Russian doping crisis on the way to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. All suspensions were lifted by the CAS, in one case allowing an athlete with two suspensions after two doping positives back into Olympic waters despite rules designed to avoid that happening.