Olympics: IOC mulls `options` as Russia made to wait on Rio fate
The IOC said Tuesday it would study "legal options" before deciding whether to ban Russia from the Rio Games and barred sports minister Vitaly Mutko, acting on a bombshell report detailing rampant state-run doping.
Canton of Vaud: The IOC said Tuesday it would study "legal options" before deciding whether to ban Russia from the Rio Games and barred sports minister Vitaly Mutko, acting on a bombshell report detailing rampant state-run doping.
The International Olympic Committee also said that it would not give backing to or organise any international events in Russia because of the deepening scandal, but had to put back a decision on whether to block Russia from the Rio Games, which start in just over two weeks.
WADA and several countries have called for Russia to be banned from international competition, starting with Rio, for what IOC president Thomas Bach called a "shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games".
The executive board of the IOC, which is under pressure to act, held emergency talks Tuesday on the inquiry commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) into state doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics and other major events in Russia.
The IOC -- which faces a race against the clock to reach a final decision on Russians in Rio -- said it "will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice".
It is also waiting on a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling on Thursday on an appeal by 68 Russians against an IAAF ban from the Rio athletics competition.The controversial Mutko, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was the highest-profile casualty Tuesday as the IOC grapples with what to do about Russia and how it can attempt to convince a sceptical public that Rio will be drug free.
The IOC ordered a disciplinary commission to look into his ministry`s role in what Monday`s report called a "state-dictated failsafe system" of drug cheating that included Russia`s secret service swapping dirty urine samples for clean ones through a hole in a wall in Sochi.
Lead investigator Richard McLaren says he has conclusive evidence that the four-year doping scheme was directed by the sports ministry with the FSB intelligence agency.
As a consequence, the IOC said it will not grant any Rio accreditation "to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the (McLaren) report."
That includes Mutko, who has denied that the government directed the doping programme, and he later Tuesday told the Interfax news agency that he was hoping for a "reasonable" decision from the IOC on Russia`s participation in Rio.
Mutko has suspended five top deputies, including his number two Yury Nagornykh, described as the point man for running the cheating scheme. WADA, the German Olympic committee and anti-doping bodies across the globe have backed calls for Russia`s outright ban from Rio that would be the first time a country has been banned from an Olympic Games over doping.
But the Association of Summer Olympic Federations and other groups have urged caution, pointing to the ethical issues of punishing athletes who have never failed drug tests.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already barred Russian track and field contenders from Rio after an inquiry into widespread state-sponsored doping in the sport.
The CAS will rule on whether the IAAF had grounds to impose a blanket ban on a national federation, since such a suspension inevitably punished athletes with no positive drug test on their record.
IOC executives also ordered a reanalysis of all samples by Russian athletes taken at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, vowing punishment against anyone who helped competitors cheat.
Because the Sochi Games are so tainted, the IOC said it would not give backing to any international sports events in Russia.
It called on "all International Olympic Winter Sports Federations to freeze their preparations for major events in Russia."
This includes world championships and World Cups, the IOC said, calling for winter federations "to actively look for alternative organisers."The Russian Olympic Committee has acknowledged the severity of the allegations but insists that collective punishment against possibly clean athletes would leave "the integrity of the Olympic Movement...endangered."
Senior sports and political leaders in Moscow have also questioned the credibility of McLaren`s key witness, the former boss of Russia`s anti-doping lab Grigory Rodchenkov, who admits he was central to the cheating scheme.
Rodchenkov is currently in hiding in the United States and is wanted by Russia.
McLaren said his team uncovered forensic evidence that proved Rodchenkov`s claims that Moscow set up a "failsafe" cheating system following the country`s poor performance at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.