A court in Moscow has refused to acknowledge the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling to disqualify Russian Bobsleigh Federation (RBF) President Alexander Zubkov from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games for violating anti-doping rules.
The CAS upheld the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to disqualify Zubkov after he was found to have been a knowing participant in the country's "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014, where he was part of Russia’s two-man and four-man gold medal winning teams that were ultimately stripped of their titles, and at other major events.
The Moscow City Court ruled, however, that the CAS decision should not apply on Russian territory.
"The court reviewed Zubkov's objections against recognising him as a violator of anti-doping rules on the Russian territory - as a Russian citizen, he is most concerned with this," sports lawyer Artyom Patsev told Russia's state news agency TASS.
"The Russian court did not cancel or change the CAS decision, as it has no authority to do so.
"Basing on the text of the CAS ruling, the Russian court recognised that for such severe punishment as annulling Olympic gold medals and such serious accusations as violation of the anti-doping rules, the little amount of evidence provided in the CAS decision is definitely not sufficient.
"The resolutive part of CAS decisions, as everybody knows, consists of several points.
"The first and foremost is to recognise him as a violator of rules.
"The second point which follows directly from the first, is to disqualify medals, diplomas and other awards won by Zubkov himself and all members of his crew.
"The second part requires obligatory enforcement.
"The first part (about recognising Zubkov as a violator) is recognised automatically on the Russian territory, in accordance with the New York Convention, if no objections are raised.
"However, Zubkov did raise objections."
Patsev added: "When it comes to the most-asked question of returning medals, IOC representatives announced publicly in court that they have not yet contacted Zukov with a demand to return his medals and that they don't know whether they will do it at all.
"Zubkov said in turn: 'Contact me, I will either object or return them voluntarily'."
When contacted by insidethegames for comment, the IOC said: "The CAS decision in this case is enforceable since there was no appeal filed with the Swiss Federal Tribunal within the period stipulated.
"The IOC will soon request the medals to be returned."
It is understood that by taking the matter to the Moscow City Court, Zubkov was attempting to alleviate pressure from Russian authorities to resign from his role as RBF head.
Zubkov claimed fighting doping is the top priority of the RBF after he was re-elected to serve a second term as President at a meeting in Sochi in July.
He was the only candidate after his two rivals withdrew in protest.
Former assistant to the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Anatoly Pegov and former Russian coach Oleg Sokolov pulled out of the running after claiming the election was "illegal".
Sokolov also called for regional federation within the RBF to boycott the meeting but his plea appeared to have been ignored as eight of the nine were present for the vote.
Zubkov, who shortly before his election revealed he would not appeal the CAS decision, received 19 votes with just one abstention.
He was also given the support of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and its President Ivo Ferriani, who wrote a letter to the RBF prior to the election which claimed Zubkov has been a "very good leader of the federation in the past 24 months".
The 44-year-old was elected in 2016 at an extraordinary conference after predecessor Georgy Bedzhamov fled Russia following corruption allegations.