Acquittal for Vitaly Mutko – "A Mockery of Justice" – Sport

  • Russia's former sports minister Witali Mutko was suspended for life by the IOC as part of the Russian doping affair. Now the International Sports Court of Cas reverses the ban.
  • The reason: Since Mutko was neither an athlete nor an official, he was not subject to the jurisdiction of the IOC.
  • US legal experts assume sporting policy motives. The case had never been properly negotiated.

One year to the opening of the Summer Games in Tokyo. Suitable occasion for Thomas Bach, the ZDF in the midst of the colorful imagery of the Lausanne Olympia Museum to explain in detail the Olympic values, which are of particular value-creating importance for the rings movement. The President of the International Olympic Committee has a lot to criticize: The prevailing "Zeitgeist" is unfortunately developing more and more in the direction of individual interests, he is "focused on aggressiveness and confrontation" – on the other hand, his rings-circle struggles tirelessly. Especially in "political terms", because in sports, Bach asserted, "apply to all the world the same rules – no one can claim special treatment for himself!"

If the gaze of the zeitgeist, which bothers Bach's IOC so much on the real current events, some inconsistencies arise. What is the situation in the Olympic practice with equal and special treatment? A clear answer is provided by the highest sports court of Cas in Lausanne, who published a late, spectacular ruling on the Russian state doping affair a few days ago: He lifts the lifelong ban imposed by IOC 2017 on Russia's former sports minister Witali Mutko. This is the only harsh spell that the IOC then expressed in his international as much too tame criticized catalog of punishments to the affair. The case Mutko stands for the gloomiest chapter in the affaire-rich aegis of since 2013 ruling IOC chief Bach. Mutko was Minister of Sport from 2008, his retirement in 2016 went hand in hand with the rise to Vice Prime Minister in the Kremlin.

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Mutko had steered Russia through the heyday of state doping, bottoming out at the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. Meticulous investigations by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren, assisted by Günter Younger, the German chief investigator of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), delivered shattering evidence for systematic participation of public authorities in doping; even the participation of the secret service FSB was proven. The analysis of countless records, emails and testimonies revealed that probably more than 1,000 Russian athletes were doped or profited from state fraud. An "institutional conspiracy" controlled by the Ministry of Sport would have been included alongside Sochi in 2014, London 2012 and the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

Now Cas collects one of the most important Olympic spells. Because: The IOC simply have no right to punish Mutko, because this was neither athlete, coach nor a member of a game delegation – and therefore "subject to neither the rules nor the jurisdiction of the IOC".

A slap in the face. That sounds like a rough rookie mistake: does not the IOC even know the clear limit of its competence?

Registered sports law experts have a very different explanation for the breakdown; it sounds more coherent and fits the general handling of the state affair. The Cas verdict is "an absolute farce, a mockery of justice," railed US lawyer Jim Swartz in a statement by the renowned foundation fair Sports, who accompanies the doping fight with Harvard lawyers and ex-federal prosecutors. Swartz is a FairSport co-founder such as Johann Koss, four-time speed skating Olympic champion for Norway, who was temporarily in the IOC and UNICEF ambassador.

According to the foundation experts, who have close ties to Wada, the Causa Mutko is not based on a legal weakness, but on a sport-political motive. The hurried, lax essay in the context of all sorts of Russian resolutions had been deliberately chosen, Swartz suspects: "If the case had really been fully negotiated, Mutko's Cas appeal would have revealed much more details about his role in Russian fraud!" Because McLaren and his key witness, the former Russian laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov, "were ready to present new, significant evidence that is not yet publicized."

For the FairSport lawyers, the brisk Mutko lock at the time was only intended to "prevent the publication of further evidence, allow public outrage to abate over time, and then lift the ban to allow Mutko and his buddies to claim they were been relieved ". An explosive analysis of an acquittal that actually contrasts with the plethora of evidence that never came to the table.

Or is it just another lapse of the IOC, which plays Russia in the cards – a small faux pas in the political equal treatment? When Bach was questioned at the Museum of Corruption about the Olympic host city of Tokyo 2020, he claimed that thanks to constant reforms "the tide had turned". And as for former sins: "We will work up these legacies with all severity."

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