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WADA welcomes dismissal of Russian cyclists’ lawsuit

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MONTREAL, CANADA-The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has welcomed the recent decision by the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, dismissing a lawsuit commenced by three Russian cyclists against WADA and Canadian Prof Richard H McLaren, OC.

“The cyclists claimed damages they alleged to have suffered as a result of their exclusion from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” the WADA said in a statement.

Specifically, they claimed that they were excluded from the Games as a result of the findings made by Prof McLaren in the Independent Person Report, commissioned by WADA, which considered allegations of widespread doping and manipulation of doping controls within Russia.

In response to the filing of the claim, WADA and Prof McLaren successfully brought motions for summary judgement dismissing the cyclists’ claim.

The summary judgment motions were heard before the Justice Faieta in Toronto on May 16, 2019, and a ruling was issued on February 11, 2020.

In granting summary dismissal, the court ruled that the issues raised by the Russian cyclists were essentially sports-related matters that fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of, and had to be resolved by, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The court also held that the filing of the claim in Ontario was an abuse of process.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA welcomes the decision to dismiss this claim. It is an important ruling that upholds CAS decisions, which are accepted and supported by the entire sports movement. This judgement rightly closes the door on attempts to re-litigate matters through the filing of domestic claims.”

“I am pleased that this case is over. Our investigation was thorough, professional and our findings were beyond question,” said Prof McLaren, who teaches law at Western University in Ontario.

“CAS is an independent institution specifically set up to resolve sports-related disputes. The plaintiffs’ claims always belonged there for resolution. Not in the provincial court system,” he added.

Legal costs and disbursements were also awarded in favour of WADA and Professor McLaren. The appeal period has expired and this matter is at an end.

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