IOC delays decision on banning Russia from Rio Olympics

Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:04pm EDT
 
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By Brian Homewood

BERN (Reuters) - Russia's participation in the Rio Olympics remained in jeopardy on Tuesday after the International Olympic Committee said it would 'explore legal options' for banning the country from the Games.

At an emergency IOC Executive Board meeting in Switzerland, a day after an independent report detailed a systematic, state-run doping program in Russia, members fell short of an immediate ban but announced a series of other measures.

A five-man disciplinary commission was set up to start proceedings against Russian officials mentioned in the report, which described extensive doping and cover-ups at the Sochi Winter Olympics hosted by Russia in 2014.

The IOC also said it would not organize or give patronage to any sports event in Russia, including the planned 2019 European Games, and that no member of the Russian Sports Ministry implicated in the report would be accredited for Rio.

With regard to the participation of Russian athletes in Brazil, the IOC said it would "carefully evaluate" the report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"It 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 ban would be humiliating for Russia, which since Soviet times has prided itself on its sporting prowess. President Vladimir Putin has said the affair could split the Olympic movement.

The last such schism was in the 1980s, when the United States and Soviet Union each boycotted Olympics hosted by the rival superpower.   Continued...

 
The Russian national flag (R) and the Olympic flag are seen during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia, February 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo