CAS rules Murofushi was victim

Kyodo

Former Olympic champion Koji Murofushi, who last month lost his appeal against disqualification from an election to become an International Olympic Committee member representing athletes, was the victim of an “overzealous” Japanese Olympic Committee, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The CAS concluded in a detailed report of the arbitral award released Tuesday that “the candidate (Murofushi) was, at least to a significant extent, the victim of an overzealous NOC (National Olympic Committee) and that his own actions were neither motivated by a desire to cheat nor can they be equated to dishonesty.

“His reputation and integrity as a sportsman, therefore, remains completely untarnished.”

The 38-year-old Murofushi garnered enough votes to secure a seat on the commission during the election at last summer’s London Olympics, but the IOC voided his results, citing violations of campaign activity rules.

Dissatisfied with this decision, Murofushi and the JOC filed an appeal with the CAS on Sept. 3. It was the first time the JOC had filed an appeal to the CAS.

The CAS said in a release that the reason its panel upheld the IOC’s decision “was due to the fact that the JOC did not comply with the applicable rules and regulations.”

JOC executive director Noriyuki Ichihara admitted that mistakes were made.

“It is true that we were guilty of jumping the gun,” he said.

Teru Fukui, a senior vice minister with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said, “We would like to expect that organizational reform will come from this.”