Russia allowed to compete in Rio Olympics; IOC opts against blanket ban

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Russia allowed to compete in Rio Olympics; IOC opts against blanket ban

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Arun S Kaimal

07/24/2016

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided against a complete ban of Russian athletes from the upcoming Rio Olympics. The IOC announced that it would be the responsibility of each sporting federation to check the doping records of Russian athletes participating under their jurisdiction.

After the country lost the appeal in Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the ban on its track-and-field athletes from the Olympics, there have been rumours about a possible blanket ban on all Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had also called for a total ban on Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympics after an independent report confirmed allegations of a state-sponsored conspiracy to manipulate a testing lab at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

However, the International Olympic Committee rejected the idea of a blanket ban on the athletes from Russia and put forward a set of strict criteria for athletes to fulfil in order to compete in the Olympics. The IOC confirmed their decision through a media release on Sunday.

“On the basis of the Findings of the IP Report, all Russian athletes seeking entry to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 are considered to be affected by a system subverting and manipulating the anti-doping system. The IP Report indicates that, due to “the highly compressed timeline”, the IP has “only skimmed the surface of the extensive data available”. The IOC EB, therefore, came to the conclusion that this view cannot be restricted only to athletes from the 20 Olympic summer sports mentioned in the IP Report.

“Under these exceptional circumstances, Russian athletes in any of the 28 Olympic summer sports have to assume the consequences of what amounts to a collective responsibility in order to protect the credibility of the Olympic competitions, and the “presumption of innocence” cannot be applied to them. On the other hand, according to the rules of natural justice, individual justice, to which every human being is entitled, has to be applied. This means that each affected athlete must be given the opportunity to rebut the applicability of collective responsibility in his or her individual case,” the media release said.

After deliberating, the IOC EB decided:

1. The IOC will not accept any entry of any Russian athlete in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 unless such athlete can meet the conditions set out below.

2. Entry will be accepted by the IOC only if an athlete is able to provide evidence to the full satisfaction of his or her International Federation (IF) in relation to the following criteria:

• The IFs*, when establishing their pool of eligible Russian athletes, to apply the World Anti-Doping Code and other principles agreed by the Olympic Summit (21 June 2016).

• The absence of a positive national anti-doping test cannot be considered sufficient by the IFs.

• The IFs should carry out an individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete’s sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field.

• The IFs to examine the information contained in the IP Report, and for such purpose seek from WADA the names of athletes and National Federations (NFs) implicated. Nobody implicated, be it an athlete, an official, or an NF, may be accepted for entry or accreditation for the Olympic Games.

• The IFs will also have to apply their respective rules in relation to the sanctioning of entire NFs.

3. The ROC is not allowed to enter any athlete for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 who has ever been sanctioned for doping, even if he or she has served the sanction.

4. The IOC will accept an entry by the ROC only if the athlete’s IF is satisfied that the evidence provided meets conditions 2 and 3 above and if it is upheld by an expert from the CAS list of arbitrators appointed by an ICAS Member, independent from any sports organisation involved in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

5. The entry of any Russian athlete ultimately accepted by the IOC will be subject to a rigorous additional out-of-competition testing programme in coordination with the relevant IF and WADA. Any non-availability for this programme will lead to the immediate withdrawal of the accreditation by the IOC.

Beyond these decisions, the IOC EB reaffirmed the provisional measures already taken on 19 July 2016. They remain in place until 31 December 2016, and will be reviewed by the EB in December 2016.

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