Russian athletes represented by GvW Graf von Westphalen in defending against exclusion from the Paralympics in Rio

Five Russian athletes have now filed constitutional appeals with the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) against their exclusion from the Paralympics Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. GvW Graf von Westphalen filed the appeals for the athletes in Karlsruhe.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had excluded the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) and, thus, all Russian para-athletes at the same time on the basis of systematic Russian government. The Committee defended itself before the International Sports Court of Arbitration (CAS) as well as the Swiss Federal Court, and the athletes defended themselves against the exclusion before the District Court (Landgericht) Bonn and the Courts of Appeals (Oberlandesgerichte) in Cologne and Düsseldorf. 

Although the application by the para-athletes for a temporary injunction against the refusal to admit them to the Paralympic Games did not succeed before the German Constitutional Court, the Karlsruhe constitutional judges made it clear in the reasons stated for their order of 15 September 2016 (1 BvQ 38/16) that a constitutional appeal that could still be filed was by no means obviously inadmissible or obviously without merit. The court stated that it was necessary to take into account numerous individual circumstances and difficult legal issues, especially relating to the relationship of individual athletes to the world organization IPC and potential influence of national antitrust law on these decisions. 

In light of this background, GvW has now also filed the constitutional appeals. The brief in support of the constitutional appeal dated 10 October 2016 especially argues that the individual fundamental rights of the para-athletes were not adequately taken into account. This is argued to especially apply to the extent that the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals raised a general suspicion in its decision against all Russian athletes that they had engaged in doping. The brief also argues that no legal remedy was granted within a reasonable period of time.  

GvW Graf von Westphalen represented the RPC and the Russian athletes in all proceedings before the German courts through Felix Prozorov-Bastians (head of the Russian Desk, lead attorney), Dr. Julia Christine Pohl (all litigation), Prof. Dr. Christian Winterhoff, Dr. Jan Felix Sturm (both constitutional law), Dr. Reinhard Höß (sports law) as well as Christian Kusulis (antitrust law).

Key Contact

Dr Tim Nesemann
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