Russian athletes have been barred from competing at next month's Rio 2016 Paralympics after an appeal against their ban was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport [Cas]. The tribunal ruled against the country after they were initially withdrawn from the Games following allegations of state-sponsored doping contained within the damning McLaren report.
Explaining their decision to uphold the original decision, Cas found that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) did not "violate any procedural rule" during the handling of the matter and deemed that their response was proportionate in the circumstances. The panel also stressed that they did not "determine the existence or extent of any natural justice rights or personality rights afforded to individual athletes following the the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC)". The RPC also did not file any evidence to contradict the facts relating to the IPC ruling.
"We are greatly encouraged that the Cas panel has upheld the IPC Governing Board's unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations," IPC president Sir Philip Craven said in a statement.
"Today's decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport, and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.
"Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all."
The IPC's stance is in stark contract to that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who opted against imposing a blanket ban on Russia and instead left the decision over individual athlete participation up to the respective sporting federations.
The Russians were originally due to take a 267-strong team to the Paralympics, which begin with an opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium on 7 September. It was revealed last week that only 12% of the available tickets had been sold so far and that major budget cuts were forthcoming across the board amid claims that the organising committee had failed to raise the necessary funds.