PtG Article 26.02.2018

IOC decision on Russia slammed by anti-doping organisations

National anti-doping organisations call IOC’s decision to reinstate Russia, if there are no further positive doping tests, “pragmatic” rather than “principled”.

On the day of the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang it was clear that Russian athletes would not be marching under their own flag. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided not to allow the athletes to march under the Russian flag after two Russian athletes had violated anti-doping regulations during the Games. 

However, Russia’s National Olympic Committee may have its suspension lifted sooner rather than later. According to Inside the Games, Russia’s ban will be lifted automatically “so long as no additional doping cases arise from tests conducted during the Winter Olympics”. This decision by the IOC was made at an IOC Executive Board meeting the day before the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Yet, IOC President, Thomas Bach, does not rule out lifting Russia’s suspension – even if additional doping cases should arise.

“If a new case should arise, then the Executive Board would have to meet and to discuss this case and the potential consequences of such a case,” said Bach at yesterday’s press conference in Pyeongchang.

National anti-doping organisations: “Disappointing”

In a statement, the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) “acknowledged” the decision to maintain the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony. However, iNADO also expressed its disappointment with the IOC’s intention to reinstate Russia in the near future.

“iNADO acknowledges the decision of the IOC to maintain the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for the Closing Ceremony. Regrettably, it is evident that it was made for pragmatic rather than principled reasons,” the statement reads.

“The disappointing fact that this is another short-lived, negotiated deal, to be lifted promptly within the next few days, indicates the IOC’s management of this issue has gone from bad to worse,” adds iNADO in the statement.

“Clean athletes who have had their Olympic moments stolen, whether it be by missing a medal or even failing to qualify as a result of false results achieved by Russian athletes, deserve a more principled and steadfast response,” iNADO says.

IOC should maintain sanctions

Last week, in an open letter, iNADO called on the IOC to “exercise its authority” to uphold the sanction of the Russian Olympic Committee. The anti-doping organisation asked, among other things, the IOC to maintain the sanctions until Russia acknowledges the findings in the McLaren report.

Moreover, iNADO maintains that Russia should not be considered for reinstatement until it has:

  • “Demonstrated contrition and apologizes for the harm created;”
  • reinforced the WADA Roadmap for RUSADA compliance;
  • called for a “ceasing of all attacks on the whistleblowers and undertakes efforts to guarantee their safety;”
  • taken steps to “bring about the turning over to WADA of the samples, evidence and data from the Moscow laboratory;”
  • adhered to the “additional conditions imposed by the IOC.”

“You may feel that the ROC is part of the Olympic family, and deserves to be welcomed back into the Olympic house.  We would argue that Olympic Moments have been stolen by doped members of past Russian contingents with no acknowledgement of responsibility by the ROC nor indication of contrition; the sanction must align with the IOC ‘zero tolerance for doping’ policy,” concludes iNADO in its open letter to the IOC.

Also being sanctioned is the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), currently suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) due to its failure to meet the necessary requirements of RUSADA’s Roadmap to Compliance.

Further reading:

Additional reactions to the IOC's management of Russia and its anti-doping violations.