The international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has adjourned its doping proceedings in the case of Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova until Thursday, according to a press release today.
Efimova’s initial hearing took place on Tuesday, August 1st, and was adjourned and scheduled to resume on August 4th, 2016. She has applied for arbitration with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and FINA – the world governing body for aquatic sports.
Efimova is seeking to overturn a decision by the ROC, at the behest of the IOC, to withdraw Efimova’s name from submission to FINA, for nomination to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where swimming competition begins on Saturday. Her first race, if cleared to compete, would likely be the 100 breaststroke on Sunday.
After the IOC received the results of the McLaren report, which investigated an institutionalized doping cover-up in Russia, they directed international sports federations (IFs) like FINA to review all Russian athletes for Olympic eligibility. Included among three primary directives was one that stated any Russian athlete who had previously been sanctioned for doping would not be allowed to compete in the Olympics. Rather than forcing the IOC to formally bar those athletes, the ROC decided to withdraw their names from consideration.
Efimova is 1 of 4 swimmers to be withdrawn from consideration by the ROC under this clause of the IOC instructions, but the only one to appeal to the CAS so far (though her case could set a precedent for many other Russian athletes). FINA also knocked out 3 other swimmers from the Olympics after they were named in the McLaren report, but declined to remove any other Russian swimmers under the directive from the IOC that no positive tests is no longer sufficient proof of doping innocence.
Two other Russian swimmers, Vlad Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, have also appealed to the CAS, and their case has been pushed to an IOC ad-hoc committee set up for the purpose of making final decisions on the eligibility of Russian swimmers.
The crux of Efimova’s case is likely centered around a prior ruling by the CAS, prior to the 2012 Olympics, about the IOC’s so-called “Osaka Rule.” That rule tried to bar any athletes suspended for doping violations for periods of 6 months or longer from the next Olympic Games. The CAS in that case ruled that the IOC didn’t have the authority to levy additional punishments outside of the bounds of those allowed for in the World Anti-Doping Code (though they did support an amendment to the code allowing for the rule, which has not come).
This situation varies slightly from that one in primarily the enormity of the doping cover-up case by Russia justifying a broader nationality-based ban; and in that in the precedent case, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) filed the appeal on behalf of the track athlete involved. In this case, the Russian Olympic Committee has withdrawn Efimova’s name from nomination, so there’s another layer of bureaucracy to appeal against.