The IOC have failed in their appeal against the CAS decision in the case of Alexander Legkov ©Getty Images

The Swiss Federal Tribunal has rejected an appeal lodged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) against the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision regarding Russian cross-country skier Alexander Legkov.

In a statement, the IOC said it was "disappointed" with the decision and has now decided against proceeding with appeals against the remaining 27 cases.

Legkov was one of 28 Russian athletes implicated in the country's doping scheme who were cleared by the CAS prior to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

The Russian, who has since retired from the sport, was initially stripped of the Olympic 50 kilometres gold and relay silver medals he won at Sochi 2014 before his results were reinstated because of the CAS ruling.

The IOC had declared themselves "dissatisfied both by the decision and the motivation", leading to the organisation lodging an appeal with the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal have the power to overturn CAS verdicts if they believe the legal process was abused, although this is considered very rare.

The IOC have now expressed their disappointment after their appeal was turned down.

“The IOC received the first reasoned decisions from CAS in late April 2018, and it was decided to appeal the first of the 28 CAS decisions that did not confirm the IOC Disciplinary Commission decisions before the Swiss Federal Tribunal,” an IOC statement read.

"It was felt that, even if the chances of winning might not be high, given the specific circumstances of the cases, it was still important to appeal the cases to exhaust all possible avenues in order to protect clean athletes.

"The reasons for the decision to reject the IOC appeal in this case have not yet been disclosed, but since the 28 reasoned decisions by the CAS are similar, the IOC will not proceed with appeals for the remaining 27 cases.

“The IOC does however reserve the right to reopen these cases should new evidence arise.”

The decision from the Swiss Federal Tribunal was welcomed by Legkov's lawyer, Christof Wieschemann, who claimed the athlete had been "finally cleared of the accusation of doping at 2014".

Legkov can now claim "my medals are clean", Wieschemann added in a statement.

The IOC will not appeal against the remaining 27 cases unless further evidence emerges ©Getty Images
The IOC will not appeal against the remaining 27 cases unless further evidence emerges ©Getty Images

The reasoned decision from CAS in the Legkov case was published in April and the remainder now due to be published this month.

He was one of 28 Russian athletes cleared by CAS, which stated that "the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation was committed by the athletes concerned".

A further 11 athletes had sanctions partially upheld, but the CAS ruled that lifetime Olympic suspensions were unenforceable.

The athletes were consequently prevented only from competing at Pyeongchang 2018.

Legkov was successful in his appeal as CAS ruled they were unable to prove any of the "factual allegations" made by the IOC.

"It is insufficient merely to establish the existence of a general sample-swapping scheme; rather, the panel must be comfortably satisfied that the athlete was personally and knowingly implicated in particular acts that formed part of, and facilitated the commission of, the substitution of his urine within that scheme," the CAS decision stated.

"In short, therefore, there is no direct evidence that establishes either that the athlete provided clean urine with the knowledge that this would be used for the purpose of urine substitution or that he did not fully close the sample bottles."

The CAS ruling on Legkov deemed the presence of "multiple T marks" on his sample bottles, and being named on the infamous Duchess List, as insufficient to prove wrongdoing.

The Duchess List was drawn up by former Moscow Laboratory head turned whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and consisted of athletes who supposedly had positive drugs tests destroyed or tampered with before and during Sochi 2014.

An athlete featuring on the Duchess List was substantial enough for CAS only when "viewed in conjunction with other relevant probative evidence".

The decision appears to confirm medals for a number of Russian athletes, with the IOC not set to launch appeals in their cases ©Getty Images
The decision appears to confirm medals for a number of Russian athletes, with the IOC not set to launch appeals in their cases ©Getty Images

By contrast, Alexander Zubkov failed in his appeal to CAS, leading to the bobsleigh athlete being stripped of his two gold medals from Sochi 2014.

CAS ruled his sample had "physiologically impossible" salt levels and that he provided clean urine before Sochi 2014 "for the purpose of enabling the subsequent sample swapping".

"His samples at the Games were in fact subsequently swapped, with salt being added to the substitute urine in an effort to conceal the existence of the substitution," the conclusion added.

Several of the athletes to overturn their sanctions earned medals at Sochi 2014, including men's skeleton gold medallist Alexander Tretiakov.

Elena Nikitina won bronze in the women's event.

Cross-country skier Maxim Vylegzhanin secured three silvers, while Nikita Kryukov and Alexander Bessmertnykh both earned one silver medal.

Speed skater Olga Fatkulina and luger Tatyana Ivanova secured silver medals at the Games, as did Albert Demchenko, who finished second in both the men's singles and mixed team luge.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal decision and the IOC’s assertion they will not launch further appeals unless further evidence arises suggests these athletes will keep their medals.

The cases involving Russian biathletes Olga Zaitseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova at CAS were suspended last year.

It was claimed the cases had been suspended after agreement from all parties, with the expectation that they will be heard after decisions on other remaining cases.

CAS has confirmed that "none of the parties have requested their procedure be resumed", with the cases remaining suspended.