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NEWS FEATURE IOC decision on Russia brings back memories of Osaka Rule By John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe
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IOC sanctions against previously doped Russian athletes brings back memories of the Osaka Rule but there will be no official complaint.

Berlin (dpa) - The decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban all Russian athletes with a doping sanction in the past from the Rio Olympics has led to widespread criticism.

It also brings back memories of the so-called Osaka Rule which was nullified in 2011 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

German athletics chief Clemens Prokop on Monday named the IOC ruling "illegal" because of the CAS ruling and because the presence in Rio of other athletes who have previously served doping bans.

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov was also not happy with the ruling but said the ROC won‘t appeal the IOC ruling because of lack of time with just 11 days left until the August 5 opening ceremony in Rio.

However, he didn‘t rule out such action from individual athletes, and judging by the 2011 ruling Russian athletes could be successful.

Decided during the 2007 world athletics championships in Osaka, Japan, the IOC banned athletes with doping suspensions of more than six months from the following Olympics, under article 45 of its Charter at the time.

The IOC president Jacques Rogge said the measure was "to tell them if you cheat there will be no Olympic Games. I believe it will be a powerful deterrent."

This ruling was challenged by the American Olympic committee USOC before the CAS, speaking of double punishment for one offence, in order to have its 400 metres world and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt compete at the London 2012 Games despite serving a 21-month ban.

The CAS ruled in USOC‘s favour in October 2011, not because it was strictly against the Olympic ban but rather because it was not compliant with the WADA Code at the time and effectively a double punishment - with the WADA Code part of the Olympic Charter just as article 45.

The CAS judges however invited WADA and the IOC to amend the code in such a way that it incorporated article 45 and that "the ineligibility would be part of a single sanction."

However, it was then decided for legal reasons to drop the Osaka Rule in favour of doubling the length of bans in the WADA Code from two to four years for serious offences - a timeline that automatically covers the following Olympics.

This in theory opens the door for Russians whose bans have expired to contest being barred from Rio, but, given that Russia narrowly escaped a blanket ban, it appears unlikely that athletes will take this step.

"It is fair to ban from the Olympics those Russian athletes who have been sanctioned for doping abuses," Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was quoted by the Tass agency as saying on Sunday.

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