IOC decides against blanket ban on Russia at Olympics

International Olympic Committee will accept athletes if they comply with strict rules by federations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it will not impose a blanket ban on Russia for next month’s Rio Olympics over the nation’s doping record.

What’s emerged over the months and years is that there has to be a wholesale form over the way anti-doping is administered.

Individual countries are put in charge of their own anti-doping programmes.

If a country is, at the very highest level, committed to winning gold medals, trying to be a successful sporting nation – there is conflict of interest if there is a doping laboratory in the country tasked with trying to find its own athletes guilty.

What a lot of people have suggested is that there needs to be, under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Association, a completely independent anti-doping agency in charge of testing athletes within every country.  

An overhaul of the global anti-doping agency is massively expensive – there aren’t enough resources for that. It’s not just a Russian problem. There are so many other countries. 

– Al Jazeera’s Andy Richardson

The decision on Sunday leaves it up to individual sports federations whether to clear Russian athletes for the Games, which will begin in 12 days.

The committee added that it would deny entry to those who did not meet the requirements set out for the federations.

Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov has guaranteed “full cooperation with all international organisations”, the IOC said in its statement, which was posted online.

Zhukov said that all Russian athletes selected for the Games have been tested over the past six months by foreign anti-doping agencies, the IOC added.

Shortly after the announcement, Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Sports Minister, said that he was grateful for the decision, adding that the IOC criteria were tough.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had earlier in July called for Russia to be banned from the Olympics and asked global sports governing bodies to bar Russia until “culture change” is achieved.

Russia’s athletics team is already banned from competing in Rio over a ruling by the sport’s governing body IAAF which was upheld on Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

IAAF says Russia has not done enough to clean up widespread doping and that state-sponsored cheating goes back to the 2008 Olympics.

The IAAF also says it has no way to verify that all Russian athletes are clean.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies