Russia will be barred from competing as a nation at the Olympic Games, Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup over the next two years after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAF) partly upheld a suspension imposed for breaching anti-doping rules.
CAF confirmed on Thursday that Russia's flag and anthem will be barred from next year's Olympics Games in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
However, Thursday's ruling still leaves Russia went enough loopholes to claim a partial win.
Russian teams will not officially be called Russian teams, but "Russia" will be printed on their red, white and blue uniforms. Winning medals will be easier after CAS scrapped the World Anti-Doping Agency's plan to impose a vetting system, and Russian officials will have complete control of the roster.
WADA wanted Russian athletes to show they didn't benefit from cover-ups at the Moscow laboratory before they were cleared to compete at the Olympics, Paralympics and world championship events. Russia argued this amounted to collective punishment.
The upshot is that the new restrictions on Russia will be weaker than before. In Tokyo and Beijing, Russia will be able to field athletes whose files in the lab database were altered or deleted while the data was under the control of the Russian state.
Russia is also barred from hosting big sports events until December 2022, or bidding for new ones during that time, but here too there are loopholes.
Co-hosting the European soccer championship in St. Petersburg next year is exempt — the ruling only covers world championships, not continental events — and Russia can still host the Champions League final in 2022. Other events can stay in Russia if it's "legally or practically impossible" to move them.
Russia could launch targeted appeals to soften the CAS sanctions yet further.