Kamila Valieva competes in the women's free skating during the Grand Prix of Russia.. GETTY IMAGES

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided to impose a four-year ban on Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva from 25 December 2021. Valieva tested positive for doping at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The sanction will take effect from 25 December 2021. This means that any results, titles, medals or awards she has won since then will be null and void. Russia will therefore lose the gold medal it won in the team figure skating competition. It will now go to the United States.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed the ban but took aim at those who had doped Valieva, who was just 15 at the time.

"The doping of children is unforgivable," WADA said in a statement, that also called for action under its Code against doctors, coaches and other support personnel who are found to have provided performance-enhancing substances to minors. 

"WADA encourages governments to consider passing legislation -as some have already done - making the doping of minors a criminal offence," it said. 

The Kremlin, on the other hand, condemned what it called a "politicised" decision. "Of course, we don't agree with it... From my point of view, of course, it's politicised," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.

However, the IOC, which must now decide the consequences of the CAS decision, is in a delicate situation. Unlike other sports such as athletics, the regulations of the International Skating Union only provide for collective disqualification in case of positive doping control of one of the athletes during the competition, not eight weeks before.

CAS pointed out that "the consequences linked to the retroactive disqualification of Ms Valieva from past events, including from the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, were not within the scope of this arbitration procedure and will have to be examined by the sports organisations concerned".

And the Valieva case is not over yet as the skater can appeal to the Swiss Federal Court within 30 days, only for limited legal reasons, before the CAS decision becomes final.