Russia on Thursday slammed a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reject an appeal against a ban for doping that will see the track and field team miss the Rio Games.
“In my view, this is a subjective and somewhat politicised decision for which there is no legal basis,” Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS news agency.
The Kremlin expressed “deep regret” over the move and said that it was unfair to ban all athletes from competing at the Games.
“The idea of collective responsibility from our point of view can hardly be considered acceptable,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“We are talking about athletes training for the Olympics who have no connection to doping, who have no connection to any accusations or suspicions,” Peskov said.
“On this we can only express deep regret.”
The CAS ruling backed up a decision from athletics governing body the IAAF to slap a blanket ban on Russia’s track and field team ahead of the Olympics over evidence of state-sponsored doping.
The decision Thursday will now see Russian athletics stars such as pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and hurdler Sergey Shubenkov miss out on Rio.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Isinbayeva said the ruling would deal a mortal blow to international athletics.
“Thank you all for this funeral for athletics,” Isinbayeva told TASS, labelling the decision “a blatant political order.”
The situation could be set to get much worse for Moscow as the the International Olympic Committee said this week it would take into account the CAS ruling as it weighs up whether to ban all Russian competitors from Rio over more widespread doping accusations.