10th March 2017

The IPC meets members of the Russian State Duma in Bonn

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) held a productive meeting with three members of the Russian State Duma in Bonn, Germany, on Friday (10 March) regarding the suspension and future reinstatement of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC). The meeting was requested by Viacheslav Fetisov, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs, for the purpose of identifying how the Duma could assist the RPC in meeting its reinstatement obligations.

Following the RPC’s suspension on 7 August 2016, the IPC informed the RPC of the reinstatement criteria it must meet in order to have its IPC membership suspension lifted on 21 November. Developed in consultation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the reinstatement criteria identify the core, high-level requirements the RPC must meet in order to be reinstated as an IPC member.

In Bonn, Fetisov was joined by Valeriy Gazzaev, Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs and Oleg Smolin, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee on Education and Science and Vice President, Russian Paralympic Committee, and a number of his colleagues. During the meeting, which was opened by IPC President Sir Philip Craven and chaired by IPC Taskforce independent Chairperson Andy Parkinson, the two parties discussed various aspects of the reinstatement criteria.  The IPC also stressed that only when the criteria are met in full, will the RPC’s suspension be lifted.

Andy Parkinson, Independent Chairperson of the IPC Taskforce, said: “I would like to thank the members of the Russian State Duma for travelling to Bonn to learn more about how they can support the RPC with meeting its reinstatement criteria.  It was a very positive meeting with both parties taking away follow-up actions. The RPC is well aware of the criteria it has to meet and any support the Duma can provide will be warmly welcomed by both the IPC Taskforce and the IPC.

“As highlighted in the IPC Taskforce’s February report, there is good dialogue and a positive working relationship between the IPC Taskforce and the RPC and we hope this continues. The key now is for us to see material and cultural changes in Russia; the positive dialogue needs to be transferred into positive actions.  Specifically, we need to see the RPC and Russian authorities adequately address the findings made by Professor McLaren in his two independent reports.  Critical to the RPC’s reinstatement will be the return of the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.  I am optimistic that representatives of the Duma can actively support RUSADA in these efforts.”

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “It was an encouraging meeting and certainly a step in the right direction, especially after last week’s admission from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s ‘anti-doping system has failed’. The IPC Taskforce will continue to lead and support the RPC in meeting its reinstatement criteria and I echo Andy Parkinson’s comments that it’s now time for the Russians to turn positive words into positive actions.
“In addition to discussing the reinstatement criteria, there was a lot of discussion regarding the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and the ongoing qualification process.

“We reiterated that under the IPC’s rules, individual athletes cannot compete whilst their National Paralympic Committee is suspended. However, should the RPC meet the reinstatement criteria in full before PyeongChang 2018 then the IPC Governing Board will lift its suspension immediately. In doing so it may then be possible for the RPC to enter athletes into qualification events or alternatively apply to the IPC for either bipartite or returned slots from National Paralympic Committees in order for eligible athletes to compete at the Games.

“The door is certainly not closed on Russia’s participation at PyeongChang 2018. The ball is very much in the court of the RPC.  They know what they need to do and the timeline they can possibly achieve it in.  One thing is for certain, the RPC can count on the continued full support of the IPC Taskforce throughout the process.”

• This media release was originally published by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Friday 10 March 2017. To access the original, please click here.

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