News 21 July 2016

14 NADOs write to IOC urging it to ban Russia from Rio 2016

Fourteen National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) have written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging it to ban Russia from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The NADOs have called on the IOC implement the following measures, stating that ‘anything less than these three outcomes is not a reasonable and proportionate measure to protect the value of the Olympic promise given the circumstances caused by the state run doping programme that corrupted the Olympic Games’:

1. Suspend the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and exclude it from the Rio Olympic Games;
2. As a consequence of the suspension of the ROC, provisionally deny entry to all Russian athletes nominated by the ROC to participate in the Rio Olympic Games; and
3. Establish a task force consisting of the members of the currently existing WADA –IOC Pre‐Games Testing Task Force to apply a uniform set of criteria to determine whether individual Russian athletes should be permitted to participate in the Rio Olympic Games under a neutral flag; thereby striking a fair balance between your stated concerns between ‘collective responsibility and individual justice’ so that no truly clean elite Russian athlete is barred from the Rio Olympic Games.

The letter was sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a day before today’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to reject an appeal filed by the ROC and 68 athletes against the Russian Athletics Federation’s (RusAF) ban from international competitions. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) welcomed the decision. “While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements”, said IAAF President Sebastian Coe in a statement. “I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude. Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”

On 17 June, the IAAF said that Russia had not met the reinstatement conditions necessary to be readmitted to international competition. The IAAF provisionally suspended RusAF in November last year, after the first World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission (IC) report found that the IAAF and RusAF had conspired to hide Russian doping. This became a full suspension when accepted by RusAF later that month. For a full timeline regarding RusAF’s suspension, click here.

It is understood that the IOC will make a decision on Sunday as to whether Russian athletes will be banned from the Rio Olympics. On Tuesday, it said that it would ‘explore legal options’ regarding a blanket ban on Russian athletes from Rio 2016, but also delayed such a decision until after the CAS had made its decision. At present, the status quo remains. As outlined by the IOC exactly a month ago, Russian athletes can compete in Rio, if they can prove that they have not been ‘tainted’ by the Russian state doping system. This will be a hard task, given that the WADA Independent Person (IP) Report found that the ROC, national team selection body (CSP), the Russian Ministry of Sport (MoS) and ROC were also involved in systemic state doping.

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