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IOC to take a week to decide on Olympic ban

AFP
Published : Jul 21, 2016, 2:37 am IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2016, 2:37 am IST

Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov, 2015 world champion, competes in the men’s 110m hurdles final at a national event in Zhukovsky on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov, 2015 world champion, competes in the men’s 110m hurdles final at a national event in Zhukovsky on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

The International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday it would take up to a week to decide whether to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics over its “state” doping machine.

Amid widespread agonising within the IOC over how to handle its biggest doping scandal, the final verdict could come less than 10 days from the Rio opening ceremony on August 5. The IOC executive decided on Tuesday to wait until after a Court of Arbitr-ation in Sport ruling expe-cted on Thursday before deciding whether a blanket Olympic ban on Russian competitors shou-ld be imposed.

The IOC, which said it needed to study all “legal options”, has now signalled it will take every day possible for one of the most important decisions in Olympic history.

“We expect a decision within seven days on the participation of Russian competitors in Rio,” IOC media relations chief Emmanuelle Moreau said.

The IOC has already banned Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko and all other ministry officials from the Rio Games and withdrawn backing for international events in Russia over the doping programme revealed by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren this week.

‘Reluctant’ IIOC McLaren, who produced a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency, said there was a “state-dictated failsafe system” of drug cheating. IOC president Thomas Bach called Russia’s actions a “shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games.”

Wada has called for Russia to be banned and are believed to have backing from the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan and other nations.

“It’s a complex issue to ban a country, but we’re delighted to see they’re considering it,” New Zealand Olympic Commi-ttee secretary-general Kereyn Smith said.

But some senior officials have expressed doubts whether the IOC wants to expel Russia.

Dick Pound, an IOC member and former Wada president, said it was right for the IOC to take time to make a decision.

But he added: “I do get the impression reading between the lines, however, that the IOC is for some reason very reluctant to think about a total exclusion of the Russians.”

Pound said an Olympic ban “would force Russia to acknowledge that the rest of the world is not prepared to play with them unless they change.”

Several national Olympic committees have also voic-ed support for Russia’s case that it would be wrong to exclude athletes who have not failed drug tests.

Location: Switzerland, Vaud, Lausanne