This appeal is a challenge by an athlete against a decision made by the World Athletics (WA) Council for and on behalf of World Athletics to make provision for the imposition of sanctions against member federations in the circumstances and on the conditions set forth in Rule 16 of the 2021 WA ADR.
In November 2016 the World Athletics (WA) Council suspended the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) as a member of World Athletics with immediate effect. The suspension arose from the matters set forth in the report prepared by the WADA Independent Commission established to investigate allegations of systemic doping practices within RusAF.
In 2016, World Athletics introduced an Authorised Neutral Athlete programme (ANA) which, subject to various conditions, allowed Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in international competitions during the period of suspension of RusAF and pending reinstatement.
Between 2016 and 2020 RusAF was fined because of serious anti-doping violations, it had to pay the sums due and to submit a sufficient reinstatement plan. Consequently the WA Council refused to grant ANA status to any Russian athlete pending these matters and decided on 2 December 2020 that it would consider RusAF's progress at its meeting in March 2021.
Hereafter in January 2021 the Athlete appealed the WA Councils decision(s) with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Athlete sought a declaration that certain provisions of the 2021 WA ADR were invalid and unenforceable and that the WA Council's decision(s) to suspend the ANA programme was likewise invalid and unenforceable.
This Award is concerned with three preliminary issues:
- Is CAS competent and the appeal admissible?
- Does the Athlete have standing to bring this appeal?
- Is the appeal deemed withdrawn pursuant to Article R51 of the CAS Code on the basis that it was filed beyond by date permitted therein?
The Panel finds that the matters, though no doubt worrisome for the Athlete, do not, as a matter of law, rise to the level of sufficient or tangible or concrete interests in order to confer on the Athlete standing to sue World Athletics in respect of decisions made by it in the formulation and publication of its ADR.
The Panel finds that the Athlete's interests are entirely abstract and in the absence of a direct (or even an indirect) application of the Contested Provisions against the Athlete by World Athletics, her interest in the provisions is too attenuated. The expressed interest on the part of the Athlete at this moment in time is indeed "purely theoretical" and cannot suffice to provide the required foundation for standing to sue.
In the result, it is the Panel's determination that the Athlete has no locus standi to bring this appeal and the appeal must be dismissed on this ground alone. The Panel does not therefore address the remaining matters.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 8 November 2021 that:
- The appeal filed on 21 January 2021 by Ms Mariya Lasitskene against World Athletics is dismissed.
- The costs of the arbitration, to be served on the Parties by the CAS Court Office by separate letter, shall be born entirely by Ms Mariya Lasitskene.
- Ms Mariya Lasitskene is ordered to pay the World Athletics a total amount ofCHF 3,000 (three thousand Swiss Francs) as contribution towards the expenses incurred in connection with these arbitration proceedings.
- All other and further claims or prayers for relief are dismissed.