Rodchenkov lawyer slams 'nonsensical' Russia doping ruling

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The lawyer for Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov slammed the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to halve Russia's sporting ban on Thursday, describing the ruling as "nonsensical."

In a statement, Jim Walden said CAS decision's to cut Russia's ban from four years to two showed the tribunal was "unwilling and unable to meaningfully deal with systematic and long-standing criminality by Russia."

"The decision by CAS to effectively 'split the baby' is nonsensical and undeserved," Walden said, saying the ruling was made despite "overwhelming proof" of corruption and doping fraud by Russia.

Under the CAS ruling, Russia will be banned from the next two editions of the Olympics as well as world championships including the 2022 World Cup.

Russian athletes may be allowed to compete under a neutral banner however if they can prove they have no involvement in doping.

The Russian saga erupted in 2016 when Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, lifted the lid on state-backed doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi.

Rodchenkov later fled Russia and is now living in an unknown location in the United States.

US anti-doping regulators have led calls for a hardline approach against Russia, and President Donald Trump recently signed into law legislation which allows US prosecutors to target individuals responsible for international doping conspiracies.

Walden said Thursday the US legislation -- the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act -- would prove more effective in the fight against doping.

"The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act now gives the U.S. Department of Justice the power to step in to fill the void left by CAS, which consistently trivializes the longstanding and deeply rooted corruption by the Russian Federation," Walden said.

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