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Tennis - 02. September 2016.

IPC will not allow Russian athletes to compete as neutrals as more than 175 appeals dismissed

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has rejected more than 175 appeals from Russian athletes hoping to compete as neutrals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) stated that 200 athletes filed individual appeals to the IPC to ask for permission to compete in Rio.

It follows the country failing in a last-ditch effort to get their athletes reinstated for the event after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the IPC’s decision to impose a blanket ban on the nation in the wake of the release of the damning McLaren Report.

This uncovered an alleged state-sponsored doping scheme, which was present at several major sporting events, including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The Swiss Federal Court had the ability to overturn the CAS ruling, but only if they found a procedural mistake in the process, and yesterday the body ruled against Russia. 

"The IPC announced on Thursday [today] that it will not allow individual Russian athletes to participate as neutral athletes at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games," an IPC statement read.

"The decision followed individual requests by more than 175 Russian athletes to compete at the Paralympic Games, which open on September 7.

"The IPC's position is clear, and has been vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Panel’s recent judgement which, amongst other things, rejected the Russian Paralympic Committee's request to require the IPC to accept the entries of individual Russian athletes who could show they were clean."

The IPC stated that for Paralympic sport to be fair, everyone must play by the same rules, which would require each athlete to be signed up to a National Paralympic Committee which enforces IPC rules.

The organisation added that the McLaren report exposed a "longstanding and sophisticated" state-controlled doping programme in Russian sport and therefore it was necessary to suspend the RPC's membership until they can "demonstrate that it is able to enforce the IPC Anti-Doping Code effectively in Russia, without interference from the Russian Government".

"The IPC has considerable sympathy for all of the Russian athletes who are now unable to participate in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s chief executive.

“Indeed, the main goal of the IPC is to enable Para-athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world. 

"Tragically, however, the Russian authorities have denied their athletes this chance through their actions.

"Once the Russian Paralympic Committee demonstrates that it will be able in the future to enforce the IPC Anti-Doping Code vigorously and effectively, without interference, the IPC will be glad to welcome Russian athletes back to international competition."

According to the Russian news agency TASS, several of the individual requests have now been moved onto the CAS.

"The requests of 34 athletes have been rejected," sports lawyer Artyom Patsev told TASS.

"Lawsuits from 34 Russian Paralympians were delivered to CAS.

"We have received a relevant notification from the post office company, which executed the delivery."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday accused the IPC of violating the regulations of the United Nations General Assembly in suspending the entire team from the Games.

Lavrov also vowed they would try to bring the IPC to “moral account” for their actions, which he described as discriminatory.

It was also announced that a separate competition for those athletes who were due to compete at the Paralympics would be held in Moscow on September 7.

Sochi and Crimea appeared to be the two regions in the running but Lukin unveiled the capital city as the host of the event.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has labelled the IPC’s choice to ban the whole team from Rio 2016 as "immoral and inhumane", has promised the prizes at the competition would be equal to those received by their Olympic counterparts.

The IPC told insidethegames in a statement yesterday that "internal discussions" surrounding the appeals filed were "ongoing".

The RPC had previously claimed that the IPC had also banned the country from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics, but the IPC confirmed this was not the case and that their membership would be reinstated if they met the eligibility criteria.

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