The GEF Appeal Tribunal Panel upholds Ms. Viner’s two-year sanction, clarifies its scope and timing, and declares the Artistic Gymnastics Federation of Russia liable for the actions of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation and its members.
The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation Appeal Tribunal Panel (GEF AT Panel), composed of Prof. Edgardo Muñoz López, President, Ms. Valérie Horyna and Mr. Rafael Resende de Andrade, members, issued on 22 November 2023 its decision in the appeal of Ms. Irina Viner against the decision of the GEF Disciplinary Commission notified on 6 March 2023, and the cross‑appeal filed by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) against the same decision on issues of costs and the liability of the Artistic Gymnastics Federation of Russia (AGFR).
In its decision, the GEF AT Panel largely confirms the decision rendered on 6 March 2023 by the GEF Disciplinary Commission by upholding Ms. Viner’s two-year suspension from participating or receiving any accreditation for any role at an international competition. This suspension is applicable regardless of the Protective Measures currently keeping Russian athletes, coaches or officials from competing.
Furthermore, the GEF AT Panel upholds the GEF’s cross-appeal with regards to liability by declaring the AGFR liable for the actions of its members, i.e. in this given case Ms. Viner and the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation (RRFG) while it was under her leadership.
As such, the GEF AT Panel decided as follows:
The GEF AT Panel has jurisdiction upon the liability of Ms. Viner as well as the issues raised in the decision;
Ms. Viner was not entitled to any legitimate expectations that she would not be charged for FIG rule violations outlined in the case;
The GEF AT Panel upholds the decision issued on 6 March 2023 by the GEF Disciplinary Commission, save for the following modifications:
the duration of Ms. Viner’s suspension, whereby Ms. Viner is “suspended for 2 years: from 6 March 2023 to 5 March 2025” irrespective of whether the Protecting Measures implemented by the FIG are still in force during this period; and,
in contrast to the GEF Disciplinary Commission’s findings, the AT Panel deems that “AGFR is strictly liable for the actions of RRFG and its members”.
Ms. Viner shall bear the cost of the appeal in the amount of CHF 5,000, which is covered by the advance payment to the GEF, which shall retain it;
Each party shall bear its own expenses and costs, including costs of legal representation;
All other prayers for relief are dismissed.
The Parties have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland within 21 days of the notification of the decision.
The GEF, as an independent body, investigates complaints in order to ensure that violations of FIG rules, policies, and procedures, including ethical breaches, are handled in an unbiased manner. The GEF Disciplinary Section is composed of the Disciplinary Commission and the Appeal Tribunal. Disciplinary proceedings may be opened by the Director of the GEF based on the findings from an investigation into a complaint. These proceedings are governed by the FIG rules in particular the FIG Code of Discipline, as well as international and Swiss law. The outcomes are communicated by the Appeal Tribunal to the GEF Director who is then responsible for informing all concerned parties.