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Arbitration panel upholds ban of 68 Russian athletes at 2016 Olympics after doping scandal

The ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport gives weight to the idea the IOC could ban all Russian athletes from the 2016 Games following a widespread doping scandal.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld the ban of 68 Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympics by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The latter organization oversees Olympic track and field competitions, and in 2015 suspended Russian athletes competing in the sport from International competition.

That suspension came following a report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that said Russia orchestrated a doping and cover-up scandal. Thursday's hearing and decision from the Court potentially had many more ramifications beyond the 68 athletes competing in track and field, as it came just two days after another report from WADA.

The more recent report came at the conclusion of an investigation into widespread doping and concealment methods used by the Russian Olympic team. It details incidents during both the 2014 Winter Olympics and leading up to the upcoming Summer Games in Rio.

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened disciplinary discussions for both Russian officials and athletes, but neglected to take any immediate action. Some thought a ban of 400 Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games could be coming.

Some were critical of the IOC after they neglected to take immediate action following the more recent report from WADA. However, the CAS ruling increases the possibility of the IOC choosing to ban Russian athletes entirely from the Games. It's unclear when they may issue their decision, though a Russian official expects one to be announced on Sunday, the AP reports.

The IOC also announced they would not be associating itself with any international competition held in Russia, including the 2019 Euro Games and that they would not accredit anyone implicated by the report or anyone from the Russian Ministry of Sport. Finally, they said they will investigate all of the athletes who participated in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.