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Appeals Set To Begin For Banned Russian Olympians

A supporter waves a Russian flag in front the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Switzerland.

The world’s top sporting court is set to hear the appeals of 39 Russian athletes who have challenged a lifelong ban imposed by the International Olympic Committee because of alleged doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will on January 22 begin proceedings that are expected to run for six days at a conference center in Geneva.

Because of the size of the hearings, the CAS was forced to temporarily move from its small headquarters in the Swiss city of Lausanne to the larger Geneva conference center.

One panel of three judges will hear 28 cases, and a second panel will judge 11. Two of the judges — Christoph Vedder and Dirk-Reiner Martens, both from Germany — will sit on both three-man panels, the court said.

Verdicts are expected by February 2, a week before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are due to begin in South Korea.

Three Russian biathletes have also appealed against the IOC ban and their cases will be heard later.

The IOC imposed lifetime bans on 43 Russians in all for doping. Maxim Belugin, a member of bobsleigh teams that finished in fourth place at Sochi in 2014, is the only banned athlete not to have lodged an appeal.

The 42 athletes who appealed deny being part of a state-backed doping program that Olympic authorities said was in place during the Sochi Olympics. All of the athletes were retroactively disqualified from the Sochi games over the doping allegations.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, The Telegraph, and CNN