IIHF President René Fasel described the CAS ruling as "harsh" ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has described the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling to ban Russia from major events for two years as "harsh".

The CAS halved the four-year period of sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as punishment for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory data yesterday. 

Russia will not be able to host, or be granted the right to stage, any major events during the two-year suspension.

The country must also be stripped of any World Championships it had already been awarded that are due to take place between now and December 16 2022 "unless it is legally or practically impossible" to do so.

Russia's flag and anthem will be banned from the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Olympics, and only Russian athletes who meet certain criteria will be able to compete as neutrals at both Games and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar - should the nation qualify.

Under the terms of the decision, Russia's name will be permitted on uniforms at events such as the Olympics, but the words "neutral athlete" - or an equivalent - "must be displayed in English in a position and size that is no less prominent than the name 'Russia'".

The colours of the flag will also be allowed.

Fasel, who was elected IIHF President in 1994 and became an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member in 2005, described the decision as "harsh" but said the ability to stage the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Saint Petersburg without restrictions was "the most important thing." 

"The decision is harsh, not what we all in the hockey family expected, but it's still better than some predictions," Fasel said, as reported by Russian state news agency TASS.  

"Russian teams can play with Russian colors on their uniforms. 

"Without an anthem and a flag, it's bad, but the World Championship of 2023 will be played in normal, familiar conditions - this is the most important thing."

The IIHF was one of the intervening parties in RUSADA's appeal and Fasel had previously warned the CAS that ruling in favour of WADA would cause "very serious" problems for future IIHF World Championships. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has the four-year period of sanctions imposed on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency ©Getty Images
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has the four-year period of sanctions imposed on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency ©Getty Images

Switzerland's Fasel has been a frequent critic of "collective punishment", including in the build-up to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, where the Russian flag and anthem were banned and the country's athletes competed as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" following revelations of a state-sponsored doping scheme orchestrated by the nation.

Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak thanked the IIHF for its support during Russia's dispute with WADA. 

"Many thanks to IIHF, it spoke in our support," he said. 

"I and the lawyers spoke from IIHF, they supported us in difficult times. 

"The World Championship would not have taken place."

Russia had offered to co-host next year's IIHF World Championship, with Belarus facing the prospect of losing those rights amid widespread anti-Government protests and fears over coronavirus case numbers, but would not be allowed to do so following the CAS ruling.

WADA imposed a four-year package of punishments on Russia last December, after it found data from the Moscow Laboratory had been tampered with and manipulated, but the criteria in the CAS decision is not as strong as WADA had wanted.

The organisation has admitted it is "disappointed" with the ruling but ultimately claimed victory. 

RUSADA has been ordered to pay a fine of either $100,000 (£74,000/€82,000) or 10 per cent of its 2019 income - whichever is lower - and a contribution of $1.27 million (£935,000/€1 million) towards the costs incurred by WADA from January 2019 to the date of the decision in investigating the authenticity of the Moscow Laboratory data.

The CAS verdict can be appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal but any chance of success at the country's highest court are slim, as it only intervenes based on potential procedural issues and on human rights and does not make a judgement on the CAS' interpretation of the law. 

The announcement will not signal the end of the protracted Russian doping scandal, however, as it will now be up to the IOC and International Federations to implement the decision, which comes into effect immediately.