IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

By Daily Sports on December 6, 2017

Views: 1,018

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday placed a ban on Russia from competing at next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

But Russian athletes who can prove they are clean would be allowed to compete in South Korea under a neutral flag.

It follows an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games hosted by Russia in Sochi.

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode," the IOC said.

The decision has been widely condemned in Russia, with some politicians urging a boycott of the Games, though other officials have welcomed the chance for 'clean' athletes to take part.

IOC president Thomas Bach and his board - who made the announcement in Lausanne came to the decision after reading through the findings and recommendations of a 17-month investigation headed up by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has been suspended but the IOC said it will invite Russian clean athletes to compete in February under the name 'Olympic Athlete from Russia' (OAR).

Despite repeated Russian denials, the Schmid report has found evidence of "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system" which back up previous allegations of government involvement in cheating in the run-up to and during the Winter Olympics almost four years ago.

Bach said: "This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system."

The Games in South Korea, which start on 9 February, will now be without one of the powerhouses of Olympic sport.

As well as the Olympic Committee ban, the IOC has also decided to ban Russia's deputy Prime Minister and former Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko from all future Olympic Games. He is currently the lead organiser for the 2018 World Cup, which is being staged in Russia next summer.

In his report to the IOC executive board, Schmid says Mutko, as the then minister for sport, "had the ultimate administrative responsibility for the acts perpetrated at the time".

Responding to the report, Fifa said the IOC ruling had "no impact" on preparations for the World Cup.

Football's world governing body added that it "continues to take every measure at its competitions to ensure football remains free from doping" and every player will be tested next summer and "the analysis of all doping samples will be carried out at Wada laboratories outside Russia".

If Russia "respects and implements" what the IOC has called for, the sanctions may be lifted in time for the closing ceremony, IOC said in a statement. (BBC)

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 6, 2017

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