Belarusian Olympic coach banned for five years for breaching integrity code. GETTY IMAGES

Former Belarusian Olympic head coach, Yury Moisevich, has been banned for five years by a Disciplinary Tribunal, after being found to have breached the World Athletics' Integrity Code of Conduct in the wake of Krystina Tsimanouskaya's withdrawal from Tokyo 2020.

The Tribunal found that the 63-year-old Moisevich had breached the Integrity Standard for 'Dignity' (Rule 3.3.10 of the Integrity Code) - after his actions were judged to be "a clear affront to the dignity of the athlete and an abuse of...power" - and that he had also violated the Integrity Standard for 'Honesty' (Rule 3.3.1 of the Integrity Code). He is alleged to have done so "by providing false or inaccurate information in the course of events leading up to the Athlete's departure from the Olympic Village" and thereby failing ·to act at all times with the utmost integrity and honesty, including acting in good faith."

On a third charge under the Protect Reputation Integrity Standard (Rule 3.3.17 of the Integrity Code), the Tribunal said that, while in no way wishing to minimise Moisevich's misconduct, it was not "comfortably satisfied" that he had acted in breach of the Integrity Standard "in these very particular set of circumstances." 

The coach, who retired last May, has been banned with immediate effect from participating in any capacity in any aspect of athletics or any activity under the auspices of World Athletics or its Area Associations and Member Federations. 

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 2021 days after her exile in Poland. GETTY IMAGES
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 2021 days after her exile in Poland. GETTY IMAGES

"This decision represents a significant success for the rights of athletes in the sport of athletics and sends a clear signal that the Athletics Integrity Unit will do its utmost to protect those rights and the values of the sport," said AIU Chair David Howman. "The dignity of all athletes is of paramount importance and every effort must be made to ensure that the environment in which they compete is free from harassment, abuse and bad faith of any kind". 

The coach was charged by the AIU under Rule 3 of the Integrity Code after the matter of Tsimanouskaya's withdrawal was referred by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Athletics (WA) on 30 September, 2021. Moisevich, who led the 31-member team at the Tokyo Olympics, was involved in the decision by Belarusian officials to withdraw the 27-year-old sprinter from the showpiece event and send her back to Belarus. 

Tsimanouskaya competed for Poland at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. GETTY IMAGES
Tsimanouskaya competed for Poland at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. GETTY IMAGES

This followed Tsimanouskaya's social media criticism of the coaching staff for entering her in the 4x400m relay - an event in which she had never competed individually or as part of a team - and her criticism of the Belarusian Athletics Federation for having to withdraw some athletes for failing to comply with Rule 15 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Code.

After removing the social media post, Tsimanouskaya was informed by Moisevich of the decision to withdraw her from the Games and send her back to Belarus. The athlete was taken to the airport on 1 August 2021, but requested assistance from local law enforcement and did not board the flight. She has since moved to Poland, where she is now competing in international events. Tsimanouskaya recorded some of her conversations with Moisevich, the content of which was used as evidence and which the Disciplinary Panel confirmed that Moisevich "committed or assisted in committing a false narrative concerning the athlete's mental and emotional state to justify her immediate exclusion from the Olympic Games pursuant to an order of the Ministry of Sport".

Following the incident, the IOC stripped Moisevich of his accreditation and expelled him from the Olympic Village.