Russian cyclists’ lawsuit against WADA dismissed in Canada

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Lawyer Eric Block speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Monday, September 11, 2017. The meeting was called to announce that three Russian cyclists, Kirill Sveshnikov, Dmitry Strakhov and Dmitry Sokolov filed suit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the World Anti-Doping Association for damages related to unfair implications that the cyclist had been doping prior to the 2016 Olympics. (Christopher Katsarov/CP)

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed against Canadian law professor Richard McLaren and the World Anti-Doping Agency by Russian cyclists has been dismissed.

McLaren, who teaches law at Western University in London, Ont., was appointed by WADA to lead an investigation into alleged state-sponsored doping by Russia.

Dmitry Sokolov, Dmitry Strakhov and Kirill Sveshnikov were due to compete in the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but they were excluded after McLaren composed a report for WADA alleging widespread doping coverups in Russian sports.

None of the three riders were ever suspended for doping on the basis of the report. They took the matter to the Canadian legal system in 2017.

The Superior Court of Ontario dismissed the case last month and the appeal period has now expired, WADA said Wednesday in a statement.

Ontario’s court ruled the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, has exclusive jurisdiction over such sport-related matters. CAS dismissed the cyclists’ case in 2016.

“Our investigation was thorough, professional and our findings were beyond question,” McLaren said in WADA’s statement. “CAS is an independent institution specifically set up to resolve sports-related disputes.

“The plaintiffs’ claims always belonged there for resolution. Not in the provincial court system.”

Legal costs and disbursements were awarded in favour of WADA and McLaren.

With files from The Associated Press.

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