30th November 2017

Paul Melia: The IOC must ban Russia now – before it’s too late

There could be dire consequences for international sport unless the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bans the Russian Olympic Team from the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea. That’s the message today from Paul Melia, the President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), on the heels of an ethical sport symposium hosted late last week in Calgary by the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“The candid, forthright discussions amongst Canadian sport leaders reinforced the CCES’ belief in the need for clear, decisive action by the IOC,” said Melia. “The International Paralympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations understood the potential consequences for sport and acted when the evidence came to light almost two years ago. And many other national anti-doping organizations have all been demanding a ban for months.”

Melia’s comments come as the IOC’s Executive Board prepares for a critical meeting next Tuesday in Lausanne. Board members will review the findings of two IOC commissions created in the wake of the irrefutable evidence contained in a pair of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reports prepared by Canadian Professor, Richard McLaren.

“We’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to athlete and public confidence in the integrity of the Olympic Movement,” said Melia. “We have to ask ourselves what it might mean for the future of the Olympics if Russia is allowed to get away with the largest doping conspiracy in history. If the public can’t be sure that all athletes are competing fairly, we might lose their trust forever.”

Melia also noted that WADA is poised to implement a new compliance standard on April 1, 2018, including sanctions that address the kind of systemic cheating that was documented in the WADA reports. “Under the new standard, a country would be banned from the next Olympic Games for this kind of subversive non-compliance,” he said. “Although this will help in the future, the IOC needs to deal with the situation before us right now and ban Russia from the Games.”

• This media release was originally issued by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) on 30 November 2017. The original is available here.

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