The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected the appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes over IAAF ban from international competition

Russian track and field athletes will not be able to compete at Rio 2016 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an appeal by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes.

The appeal was regarding the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decision to uphold the Russian athletics federation’s suspension from IAAF membership, which means that athletes remain banned from competing for Russia in international events.

The suspension of the RusAF as an IAAF Member has been in place since last November and it came after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report detailed findings including a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russian athletics.

The ban was upheld following an IAAF Council meeting in June.

At that meeting it was announced that following a rule amendment, Russians may still be able to compete at the Rio Olympic Games and other international competitions as “neutral” athletes. Earlier this month, Russian long jumper Darya Klishina was cleared to compete internationally as an independent neutral athlete.

In a statement, the IAAF said: “The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position.

“Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes. The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe commented: “While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements.

“I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.

“Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”

Quoted by Russian News Agency TASS, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable. We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.”

The CAS decision can be found here.