IOC welcomes "strong stance" on doping after Russia ban ruling

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomes the "strong stance against doping" taken by the IAAF following the international athletics federation's ban on Russia competing at the Olympics.

The IOC said Saturday it took note of the IAAF council decision Friday to uphold its ban on Russian athletes competing at international events because of state-sponsored doping.

The IOC "welcomes and supports the IAAF’s strong stance against doping. This is in line with the IOC’s long-held zero-tolerance policy," an IOC statement said after an executive board telephone conference Saturday.

The statement said it "fully respects the IAAF position" and will "initiate further far-reaching measures in order to ensure a level playing field for all the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016."

The IOC is holding an Olympic summit at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday.

The meeting "will address the situation of the countries in which the National Anti-Doping Organisation has been declared non-compliant by (World Anti-Doping Agency) WADA for reasons of the non-efficient functioning of the national anti-doping system."

Earlier in Melbourne, IOC vice-president John Coates said he would be "very, very surprised" if the IOC moved to overturn the ban at the IOC meeting.

In unanimously upheld its ban on Russian athletes, the IAAF said exceptions would be considered for athletes to compete neutrally if they could show sufficient evidence that they were clean.

The IOC said Saturday the eligibility of athletes in any international competition including the Olympic Games was a matter for the respective international federation.

WADA said it fully supported the IAAF council decision to uphold the suspension, first imposed on November 13.

WADA president Craig Reedie said WADA was now anticipating the outcomes of its own independent investigation formed on May 18 to examine further allegations of doping in Russia.

Russian investigators meanwhile opened criminal proceedings against the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, Tass reported.

Criminal proceeding were opened "on charges of abuse of authority."

Rodchenkov, who now lives at secret location in the United States, last month made claims of a doping cover-up at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, with the close involvement of the sports ministry and the FSB security service.

In reaction to the IAAF council ruling, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in St Petersburg late Friday that it was "unjust and unfair" and that there should not be a collective punishment of athletes.

"I hope we will find a solution on that matter. But it does not mean that we are going to take offence and say we will stop fighting against doping use at all," he was reported as saying by Tass news agancy.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko denied Saturday there was a state-supported doping system in Russia.

"Yes, we do have athletes and coaches from the past, but nobody is going to cover up them," he told Tass.

"At the same time, I want to make it clear - it is the athlete’s responsibility for use of a doping, it is a personal decision. Stop claiming it is a state-level system."

Mutko called on the IAAF to explain what other action Russia should take to restore its athletes.

"We want to realize what else we should do," he said.

"Has the organization decided there were insufficient efforts to protect the athletes? All right. We are not going to get isolated, we are ready to cooperate with everyone, on a positive basis."

Russia's Olympic committee president Alexander Zhukov said he would attend Tuesday's IOC meeting in Lausanne and make a report.

On the question of athletes who had passed independent doping tests possible being allowed to compete, he said: "Not everything is clear, and lawyers will look into it," he was quoted as saying by Tass.

"The information is the athletes, who passed independent tests, may be allowed; for the last six months our athletes’ tests were taken by officers of the UK agency. Thus, we do have chances."

Last update: Sat, 18/06/2016 - 15:10

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