Sochi 2014
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From Inside the Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has postponed a decision on Russia’s participation at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro until the end of the week, but is exploring legal options over a possible total ban.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said yesterday that Russia should be banned from all international competitions, including Rio 2016, until they achieved a “culture change”.

This followed the release of Richard McLaren’s Independent Commission report here into alleged state-sponsored doping during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as in competitions in summer sports.

The report showed the Sports Ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” a “unique” method of sample manipulation at Sochi 2014, involving a sample-swapping method where they were able to open and reseal tamper-proof bottles.

Thirty sports are alleged to have been implicated in the swapping of samples to conceal positive tests, including summer ones not normally linked with doping like sailing, taekwondo and table tennis, as well as Paralympic sports.

With regard to Russia’s participation at Rio 2016, the IOC said it “will carefully evaluate” the McLaren Report following an emergency Executive Board meeting held today.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie, an IOC member, was told by IOC President Thomas Bach to excuse himself from the meeting due to a “conflict of interest”.

Russia has already been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) due to doping exposed last year.

An appeal on this will be heard today at the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with a verdict set to be reached by Thursday (July 21).

“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,” an IOC statement said.

“In this respect, the IOC will have to take the CAS decision on July 21, 2016 concerning the IAAF rules into consideration, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Charter.”

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