Olympics: IOC exploring legal options over Russian Federation ban

by Steven Clarke July 24, 2016, 2:01

"[The IOC] will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice", a statement said. The World Anti-Doping Agency caught the Russians cold running a cheating programme on a massive scale to deliver on a win-at-all-costs mentality reminiscent of the East Germans 30 years ago.

Two high-profile sports lawyers presented each side California-based Howard Jacobs for the Russians, British attorney Jonathan Taylor for the IAAF.

Released in spring 2016, the deep dive into doping data reveals that Russian athletes generated 148 anti-doping rule violations, followed by Italy (123), India (96), Belgium and France (both 91). If the ban is upheld, however, it would keep the option open.

International Olympic officials said yesterday that they will "explore the legal options" for a potential total ban on Russian Federation from the games in Rio de Janeiro and are taking measures to punish athletes and officials involved in the state-run doping conspiracy. Yet even the disgraced Blatter looks palatable by comparison with the Russian sports minister. WADA also suspends Russia's national anti-doping body, RUSADA, over non-compliance.

Russian track athletes have already been banned from showing up to race in Rio. It says IAAF leaders must have known about the wide scope of doping.

But Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was barred from attending the Games and the International Olympic Committee ordered a disciplinary commission to look into his ministry's role in what a report called a "state-dictated failsafe system" if drug cheating.

Another ARD programme claims that Russian authorities have been covering up for coaches disgraced by the doping programme, directly pinpointing Mutko for his alleged involvement in the cover-up. It found an email trail that shows Mutko gave the order to "save" a banned foreign footballer who had failed a drugs test, which meant his sample was never declared positive and he was free to keep playing.

The worldwide rowing federation said Wednesday it was investigating whether Russian rowers' places at the Rio Olympics could be reallocated to athletes from other countries "if there would be a blanket ban on the Russian team or any other ban". Klishina later tells AFP that she has been branded a traitor back home.

McLaren's report primarily focused on Russian athletes from a wide range of summer and winter Olympic sports that had benefited from the state's policy to make positive doping results disappear, especially after a poor showing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Russia's Olympic Committee pressed on Wednesday with its preparations for the Rio Olympic Games despite the threat of a ban for state-run doping hanging over the country.

The shocking behaviour exposed in Richard McLaren's report is incompatible with the integrity of sport and the spirit, such as it is, of the Games.

International Olympic Committee executives also ordered a re-analysis of all samples by Russian athletes taken at the 2014 Winter Olympics, vowing punishment against anyone who helped competitors cheat.

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