Call for stronger sanctions against Russia denounced by IOC Athletes’ Commission

Photo: Republic of Korea/Flickr.

14.08.2017

By Mads A. Wickstrøm
Heads of IOC Athletes' Commission Angela Ruggiero and Tony Estanguet, lash out against their WADA counterpart, following statement against IOC decision on Russia.

In a joint statement, Chair and vice-chair, Angela Ruggiero and Tony Estanguet, denounce World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Commission chair, Beckie Scott’s call for stronger punishments against Russia, following allegations made in the McLaren report last year.

“As IOC Athletes’ Commission and members of the WADA Athlete Committee, we are completely focused on supporting clean athletes on and off the field of play. As athletes, we know nothing is more important than the integrity of competition and we trust and expect that IOC, WADA, and all parties involved will take strong actions once the facts are clear,” Ruggiero and Estanguet said in their joint statement on the Olympic Athletes’ HUB.

“While we all want a swift resolution for athletes, we believe the comments made by the chair of WADA's Athlete Committee are inappropriate at this time,” they added.

“We believe speculations about possible outcomes without knowing the result of the work of the two IOC Commissions is creating confusion to athletes,” Ruggiero and Estanguet explained.

Beckie Scott however, argued that fining Russia is “not enough”.  In an interview with the BBC she said:

“A fine can be paid. It doesn’t necessarily establish the level of consequence we, the WADA Athletic Committee were hoping prior to Rio,” she said.

“We felt that a country that had been engaging in state-sponsored doping should not have the right to wave their flag at the Olympic Games,” Scott added.

Scott, who is also a former member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, asked for more severe punishments such as a suspension from the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in 2018. The IOC say that no decisions have been made concerning Russian sanctions and that they are dependent on the findings of the commissions established by the IOC to investigate the “institutional conspiracy” orchestrated by Russia, writes Inside the Games.

As such, the IOC have yet to punish Russia following the allegations made by Richard McLaren. Inside the Games reports that they have been told that “figures in Russia” have made it clear to the IOC that they will boycott the Games if they are not allowed to participate under their own flag. 

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