19 January 2017

IOC will not give patronage to MINEPS VI in Russia this July

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not give patronage to the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education in Sport (MINEPS) taking place in Russia during July, despite it being part of a committee that put together the programme for the event. ‘MINEPS is a ministerial conference convened by UNESCO, not a sporting event’, wrote an IOC spokesperson in an email. ‘The IOC is not providing patronage to the conference’.

MINEPS VI will take place in Kazan, Russia, 5-7 July. The three main themes of MINEPS VI are:

• Developing a comprehensive vision of inclusive access for all.
• Maximising the contributions of sport to sustainable development and peace.
• Protecting the integrity of sport.

‘To study these subjects, a programme committee was formed co-Chaired by the Ministry of Sports and UNESCO, with the participation of the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the International Association of Sports for All, the Chairman of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport, Gert Oosthuizen, and the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education’, read a statement issued by the Russian Ministry of Sport.

In July last year, the IOC said it would not give patronage to any sporting event or meeting organised in Russia, and such measures were extended ahead of the December 2016 publication of Part Two of the Independent Person (IP) Report compiled for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Richard McLaren. A number of sporting organisations have followed the IOC’s advice by withdrawing sporting events from Russia, and last week National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOS) called for the removal of all major international competitions from Russia, as well as a moratorium on the awarding of new competitions to Russia. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was also involved in putting together the programme for MINEPS VI, despite Russia’s continued suspension from IPC events.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko (pictured) has been appointed to Chair the organising committee for MINEPS VI. Mutko was previously Minister for Sport and was implicated in the WADA IP Reports as being involved in the ‘disappearing positive’ methodology used to cover up positive doping tests. He is also President of the Russian Football Union and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, as well as being a FIFA Council member.

‘The IP is aware of at least 1 foreign footballer playing in the Russian League had that benefit of a SAVE order’, reads Part One of the WADA IP Report. ‘That SAVE decision was made by Minister Mutko and not Deputy Minister [Yuri] Nagornykh. Email evidence available to the IP shows that the SAVE decision for the football players was the final decision of “VL.” VL is the first name and patronymic name initials of the Minister of Sport, Vitaly Leontiyevich Mutko, who is also the President of the Russian Football Federation.’

There are a number of references to orders given by ‘VL’ in an evidential package of emails published with Part Two of the WADA IP Report (PDF below). For instance, an email sent by Rodchenkov on 17 August 2014 reads: ‘Football – do not touch. The decision of the VL to work!’ A reply reads: ‘lt is only A1105? For football players we are waiting for the decision of VL?’

The MINEPS meetings are designed to formulate an international strategy for sport and provided a key platform for the development of the International Convention against Doping in Sport. As the Conference of State Parties to the International Convention against Doping in Sport is to be held in September 2017, UNESCO has disposed of an intergovernmental forum that addresses integrity in sport specifically.

Yesterday, the event coordinator, the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) pointed out that it had received no objections from Member States to Russia hosting MINEPS VI. ‘The Russian Federation is providing excellent conditions for preparing and hosting the conference including, notably, the offer to cover the costs of participation of a representative from each of the least developed / low-income countries, as well as material and technical support to a very thorough preparation of the conference programme’, wrote a UNESCO spokesperson in an email. ‘As you may know, this preparation currently mobilises a large number of governmental and non-governmental experts who are committed to make this event a success.’

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