The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) today agreed to appeal the decisions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the Russian doping cases from the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
The announcement was made today during the second and final day of the EB meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. The appeal will be filed with the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: "We put ourselves in the shoes of athletes who finished behind these Russian athletes. It is stated that the CAS decision does not mean these athletes are innocent. They can very well ask us why we did not appeal. If I were one of them I would ask this question. I did not find a good answer."
"Any athlete could say that any slim chance is worth seizing. This is why we took this decision. We are still looking into the legal details and evaluating the CAS full awards. Regardless of the degree of chances we have, we want this to be clarified and to be reviewed by the Swiss Federal Tribunal in the interest of the athletes."
Another point of debate was the report provided by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in response to a request by the EB at its previous meeting in February ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. There are continuing concerns on governance, and financial and sporting integrity; and further actions have to be completed by AIBA by 11 July ahead of the next Executive Board meeting. In the meantime, the key decisions taken in February remain in place.
According to the IOC President: "This report shows some progress and goodwill, but still lacks execution and, in some areas, substance. We now need to see action. Therefore, we retain our right to exclude boxing from the programme of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. With regard to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, we decided to protect these young athletes who cannot be blamed for all the issues we have on the table and keep boxing on the programme. This will happen on the condition that the refereeing system, meaning the appointment process of the judges, is approved by international independent experts."
Fight against doping
During the morning, the Board addressed various topics related to the fight against doping. It looked back on the successful Pre-Games testing programme with more than 17,000 targeted tests on more than 6,000 athletes.
The Executive Board received a progress report on the International Testing Agency (ITA), which is in a crucial start-up phase. Even before the new Director General, Benjamin Cohen, starts in June, there have already been requests for services from 20 International Federations and more have expressed strong interest.
Concerns were raised about the threats of boycotts by governments hosting events and using sport for political purposes by denying visas, flags and anthems to participating athletes and countries. The Executive Board re-stated its zero-tolerance approach to these positions and deliberated on possible prevention and reaction measures in coordination with various organisers and federations.
Following a decree by the Ukrainian government preventing athletes from competing in Russia, the IOC has had contact with the Ukrainian government at all levels. The decree is no longer being enforced. After Tunisia banned Israeli athletes from participating in a taekwondo event, the IOC has frozen all contacts with the local National Olympic Committee with regard to its candidature for the Youth Olympic Games 2022.
Bach explained: "We had to address the issue of the increase in governments requesting boycotts of sport events for political reasons. Some governments abuse sport for their political purposes. This is against the mission of sport and of the Olympic Games, which bring people together and unify people regardless of any political differences. These boycotts are against our essential values. We are here to watch this carefully and to act."
Information was also provided on the recent visit to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne by a delegation of representatives of the Kuwait government to hold talks to resolve the situation of the Olympic Movement in the country.
Athletes and sport
The recently elected Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Kirsty Coventry, presented the composition of the steering committee, with 20 athlete representatives overseeing the creation of a Charter of Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities through a two-stage athlete survey. Nearly 200 responses from 66 countries and 77 sports and disciplines have been received so far.
This presentation was in addition to the approval yesterday by the Board of the new medal reallocation policy, also developed by the Athletes' Commission.
Finally, the Athletics Qualification System for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was also approved after being finalised in close collaboration with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The evolution of the IAAF qualification system reflects the change in the athlete quotas, mainly through a fixed total number of 1,900 being proposed for the first time (down from the target of 2,005 at Rio 2016) and a fixed number of athletes by event. With the approval of 31 Qualification Systems by the IOC Executive Board in February, the last outstanding system is for boxing. The weight categories and qualification system will be ready for presentation in July, subject to the status review of AIBA.
The Olympic Channel racked up 200 million video views throughout the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, which brings the total of video views since the launch of the Channel to 1.5 billion. Some 900 live sports events have been covered, and 11,000 individual pieces of content have been created since 2016. The Olympic Channel will also offer extensive live coverage of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.