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Doping Court to face ‘several hundred’ McLaren-related doping lawsuits

A doping control station at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia

(Keystone)

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expects to receive ‘several hundred’ lawsuits following the release of the so-called ‘McLaren report’ detailing an elaborate doping scheme sponsored by Russia's Sports Ministry.

“We can expect several hundred cases because there were 1,000 violations in the McLaren report. I expect 100, 200 or more lawsuits before the CAS,” the court’s secretary general Matthieu Reeb told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

An independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Friday that over 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests as Moscow “hijacked international sport” over the course of five years.

The second and final part of the report for WADA by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren provided exhaustive evidence of the elaborate doping scheme sponsored by Russia's Sports Ministry, which dated back to 2011.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb

(Keystone)

It included switching and changing samples by opening "tamper-proof" bottles – using a method devised by the Russian secret service – and numerous other methods to bypass and cover up drugs tests. Russia’s Sports Ministry denied that any government programmes exist to support doping in sport and declared that it would continue to fight doping from a position of zero tolerance.

Reeb said WADA will “inform each international federation concerned, which will have to put in place disciplinary procedures to prove athletes’ guilt”. Sanctioned athletes can then appeal to the CAS, if necessary.

“I imagine that some athletes will not appeal but others will definitely do so,” the official from Neuchâtel declared. “Currently CAS has sufficient staff to absorb a large number of cases which can be grouped together, as they are often similar.”

Reeb said the number of cases the court has to handle is “constantly increasing” and will smash a new record in 2016: 600 cases compared with 503 in 2015.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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