28th February 2018

IOC reinstates Russian Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today reinstated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), after confirming that all remaining tests conducted by its Doping Free Sport Unit (DFSU) at PyeongChang 2018 were negative. A report from the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OARIG) earlier found that two anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) reported by OAR athletes were ‘individual and isolated cases that did not show a pattern of systematic organised doping activity’.

As previously reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, while both OARs accepted an IOC sanction for an ADRV, both dispute that they are at fault. Both have ‘reserved all rights accordingly to seek the elimination or reduction of any period of ineligibility based on “No Fault or Negligence” following the conclusion of the Games’. As such, both have complied with the IOC’s Anti-Doping Rules, as required by the OAR Conduct Guidelines.

After the OAR team won gold in the men’s ice hockey, the players sang the national anthem (video below), in violation of the OAR Conduct Guidelines. The Guidelines (PDF below) specifically prohibit OAR athletes from ‘singing the national anthem inside an Olympic venue’.

‘I would like to thank our athletes who, despite some provocations, managed not only to fulfil all the conditions, but also behaved perfectly at the Olympics’, read an ROC statement. ‘Also the fans who, on the one hand, have provided tremendous support to our athletes (think all that watched the final match of the ice hockey, during which the stands were dominated by Russian flags), and on the other, did not pass the point at which the sanctions could follow.’

A Russian branding agency produced a series of innovative slogans and t-shirts worn by Russian spectators at the Games (pictured). ‘Respecting the rules means, in particular, not taking part in any initiatives that can be perceived as circumventing the spirit of the EB decision’, read the OAR Conduct Guidelines.

The IOC decision means that Russia has fulfilled the IOC requirements for reinstatement. As outlined on 5 December, these conditions included the payment of US$15 million to the IOC.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will remain suspended until Russia complies with the remaining criteria outlined in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Roadmap To Compliance. These include:

• The ROC, Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Ministry of Sport must accept the conclusions of the McLaren Reports;
• The Russian government must allow access to urine samples stored in the Moscow Laboratory;
• RUSADA must install a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) team;
• RUSADA must cover the cost of UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD) presence in Russia to oversee testing whilst it is suspended, and also the cost of two international experts stationed in Russia;
• RUSADA must be autonomous from the Russian government.

RUSADA’s continued suspension means that international federations can suspend Russia from competing in their events for not being compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code by not having an adequate testing system in place. At present, the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and Paralympic Committee (RPC) are suspended from competing in events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Those suspensions remain in place.

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