News 20th September 2017

Russia offers financial rewards to Pyeongchang medalists & coaches

The Russian government has published an order that will establish financial rewards for medalists and their coaches at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The order, which was publicised by Russia’s Ministry of Sport, will provide a 4 million rouble (€57,000) reward to athletes that win a gold medal; a 2.5 million rouble (€36,000) reward to athletes that win silver; and a 1.7 million rouble (€24,000) reward to athletes that win bronze.

The order also establishes that the national teams and coaches responsible for training Pyeongchang 2018 medal winners will receive compensation ‘approved by the Russian Ministry of Sport in conjunction with the All Russian Union of Public Associations and the Russian Olympic Committee, in consultation with the Russian Ministry of Finance’. The amount of compensation received by Paralympic national teams and coaches will be determined by the Ministry of Sport, the Russian Paralympic Committee and the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Sport said that the amount of compensation corresponds to the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympics. Russia is currently set to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics, however it could still face exclusion if the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) does not achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code by 9 February next year.

This is because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) plans to introduce a framework that would allow it to sanction signatories it deems not to be complaint with the Code before Pyeongchang 2018 begins. At the 2017 WADA Symposium in March, Jonathan Taylor, Chairman of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC), pointed out that Code compliance is a condition of membership of the Olympic movement.

WADA currently deems RUSADA as not compliant with the Code which means that technically, Russia cannot be deemed as a member of the Olympic movement, which would prevent Pyeongchang 2018 participation. In addition to this, the Schmid Commission appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to investigate the ‘institutional conspiracy across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure, such as RUSADA, CSP and the Moscow Laboratory along with the FSB’, is scheduled to report its findings before Pyeongchang 2018.

Russian paralympians are currently excluded from Pyeongchang 2018, as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) confirmed that the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) remains suspended earlier this month. A further review is due in November.

Given that the IOC chose not to ban Russian athletes from Rio 2016, a ban on participation at Pyeongchang 2018 would risk being viewed as contradictory. Also, any attempt by WADA to use its new sanctioning system to ban Russia without IOC approval would be a radical step.

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