The CAS verdict refers to a state-sponsored doping programme in operation at Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

Full verdicts published by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) explaining their decision to reject appeals by 45 Russian athletes hoping to appear at Pyeongchang 2018 today referred to a "state sponsored" doping programme.

This definition was the one initially used in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-commissioned report compiled by Richard Pound in November 2015 and the first part of the one conducted by Richard McLaren in July 2016.

The second part of McLaren's report published in December 2016 switched to the phrase "institutional" conspiracy.

The IOC referred to a "systemic manipulation".

"This Panel is faced with evaluating an unprecedented response to an extraordinary situation, that is, a state-sponsored doping scheme," the CAS panel, consisting of Switzerland's Bernhard Welten, Carol Roberts from Canada and Australia's Zali Steggall, said.

The use of this term suggests the Panel adopted a far stronger view of the evidence compiled than the one which last week cleared 28 of the 39 Russian athletes who had appealed against their disqualification from Sochi 2014 for doping.

Full verdicts in these cases have still not been published.

Another interesting detail contained in the CAS verdict is the revelation that Russia could have entered 40 more athletes here than they have.

If they had take up all their place, the Olympic Athletes from Russia team would have been only five smaller than the 214 who competed at Sochi 2014.

"Although 209 of the 211 places could have been filled with the athletes cleared to receive an invitation by the IOC, the ROC eventually provided a list of 169 athletes who were invited to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia," CAS reveal.

The team has now been reduced to 168 after speed skater Olga Graf chose not to appear.

The verdicts were announced by CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb here today ©Getty Images
The verdicts were announced by CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb here today ©Getty Images

The CAS ruling, announced just hours before tonight's Opening Ceremony, prohibits the likes of six-time Olympic short-track speed skating gold medallist Viktor Ahn, Sergei Ustyugov and Anton Shipulin, the world champions in cross-country and biathlon respectively, from competing.

Olympic skeleton champion Alexander Tretiakov, bronze medallist Elena Nikitina, and Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Alexander Legkov will also be forced to miss Pyeongchang 2018.

The result has provoked a predictable range of contrasting reactions.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie claimed the timing just before tonight's Opening Ceremony will "reassure athletes and others that only Russian athletes, which have met strict anti-doping criteria will be participating in the Games".

"These decisions come as welcome news for WADA; as they will, for athletes and all others worldwide that care for clean sport and the integrity of the Games," Sir Craig added. 

United States' IOC Executive Board member Anita DeFrantz claimed the result showed they have "been working extraordinarily hard to protect the clean athletes".

"What the IOC says: 'Don’t come to the Games if you dope'," she added. 

"We may not catch you at this Games, but we will catch you - we have 10 years during which we can test those samples."

On the other hand, Jim Walden, the lawyer for former Moscow Laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov, who provided much of the information for the McLaren Report after fleeing Russia, accused the IOC and CAS of being "complicit in enabling Russian doping".

"I am confident that today’s decision is mostly a reaction to the outcry from clean athletes against Olympic corruption and complicity," he said.

"I hope IOC President Thomas Bach is listening - for the sake of the Olympic ideal, he needs to resign."

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie welcomed the CAS verdicts today ©Getty Images
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie welcomed the CAS verdicts today ©Getty Images

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko - the former Sports Minister now serving an Olympic life ban - attacked the supposed lack of transparency surrounding the process and conceded that the young Russian team may now struggle without many of its most established names.

"The procedure of inviting or not inviting is similar those of a commercial private club tournament," he told Russia's official state news agency TASS.

"But those are the Olympic Games at the end of the day. 

"This all will diminish competition and attention to the Games."

Russian Bobsleigh Federation President Alexander Zubkov, winner two Olympic gold medals at Sochi 2014 and who been named in connection with doping, dismissed the verdicts as "political".

He vowed that appeals would be launched at the Swiss Civil Courts.

State Duma Committee for International Affairs member Alexei Chepa told broadcaster RT that the composition of both the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency needs "to be completely destroyed" because of their failure to spot alleged doping failures in countries other than Russia.

The two CAS verdicts published today can be read here and here.