Russia may face Olympic ban in other sports if Sochi allegations are proved
A blanket ban on Russian athletes competing at the Rio Olympics could be recommended by the World Anti-Doping Agency if accusations of state-sponsored doping at Sochi 2014 are proved.
Russia’s track and field stars have already been excluded from competing in Rio by the IAAF, and the Wada president, Sir Craig Reedie, said he was minded to create a “precedent-setting opportunity” if a forthcoming report from the law professor Richard McLaren confirmed broader Russian government and security force collusion in helping athletes to cheat in other sports.
Describing what might come from the McLaren inquiry, which is due to report no later than 15 July, as “another high-profile moment”, Reedie said: “If the allegations are true, we will respond thoroughly and effectively.” Reedie’s comments follow an interview Pound gave to The Sunday Times in which he described a complete Olympic ban for Russia as “the nuclear option … but not impossible”.
Meanwhile Wada’s new director general, Olivier Niggli, said that, while it had no powers to ban countries or sports directly, it could make a recommendation. “It’s not impossible for other Russian sports to miss the Olympics,” he said. “The IAAF has set some interesting precedent. There are going to be some timing issues – we are very close to Rio. I think there might be different actions based on the timing of all of this.”
When asked whether he thought the International Olympic Committee needed to consider whether Russia should in Rio he replied: “All our stakeholders need to take their responsibility depending on what the report says. Yes, I think this will be a question that is put to them.”
The IOC will hold an Olympic summit in Lausanne on Tuesday when it is expected to follow Wada’s lead by backing the decision to uphold the ban on Russia’s athletics federation. It is also expected to explore other penalties for countries whose anti-doping organisations are declared non-compliant by Wada. However, the possibility that Kenya will miss the Olympics has receded after Niggli confirmed that the country was making good progress towards becoming compliant again.
“The Kenyan president has to ratify it, and my understand is that it is fairly imminent,” he said. “When it happens they will be part of the compliance programme again. I don’t understand why they had to go through such a process to get there.”