KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The Court of Arbitration for Sport has overturned a decision by the International Olympic Committee to ban former Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko from involvement in or at the Games.

In 2017 the IOC excluded Mutko from “any participation in all future Olympic Games” as part of Russia’s suspension from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for what it called the “systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system” at the 2014 Games in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

An  IOC Commission, under the leadership of Samuel Schmid, concluded that during the Winter Games in Sochi, when Mutko headed the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, was compromised by a system aimed at manipulating doping samples of Russian competitors.

Also, the CAS lifted the IOC life ban of former deputy sports minister Yuri Nagorny.

In its verdict on July 3, CAS referred to two rules of the Olympic Charter, 44 (“invitations and registrations”) and 59 (“Measures and sanctions”), according to which the sanction imposed on the Russian leader does not have any “legal basis.” Mutko could not be banned from the Games because he “was and is not an Olympic competitor, a member of an Olympic delegation, a referee or a jury member.”

However CAS noted that its decision “does not affect any future decision”  of the IOC in this regard or “for any specific edition of the Olympic Games.”

Mutko told RIA Novosti he was “satisfied” with the decision. The IOC, in a press release, “takes note of the CAS decision, which concerns only the formal issue of the IOC’s sanctioning power for people outside the Olympic movement.”

Mutko, a former president of Zenit St Petersburg, was then head of the Russian Football Union between 2005 and 2009 and then returned in 2015 amid financial chaos in place of Nikolai Tolstykh. He was re-elected in September 2016 but stepped down at the end of last year to focus on his CAS appeal. He was president of the organising committee of the 2018 World Cup.

In the meantime he was barred from standing for re-election to the governing council of world federation FIFA after failing an eligibility check.