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International Olympic Committee to ‘explore legal options’ for Russia ban

THE International Olympic Committee says it will study “legal options” before deciding whether to ban Russia from the Rio Games over its state-run doping program.
But Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was barred from attending the Games and the IOC ordered a disciplinary commission to look into his ministry’s role in what a report called a “state-dictated failsafe system” of drug cheating.
The IOC executive held emergency talks overnight on a bombshell inquirycommissioned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) into the state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics and other major events in Russia.
The IOC said it would not give backing to any international events in Russia because of the scandal but had to put back a decision on whether to bar Russia from the Rio Games which start on August 5.
As WADA called for Russia to be banned from international competition, IOC president Thomas Bach called the doping scandal a “shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games.”
But the IOC said 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.”
The Olympic leadership said it will also have to wait for a Court of Arbitration for Sports decision ruling on Thursday on an appeal by 68 Russian athletes against an IAAF ban from competition.
Lead investigator Richard McLaren said he had conclusive evidence that the four year doping scheme was directed by the sports ministry with the FSB intelligence agency.
The IOC said it will not grant any Rio accreditation “to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the (McLaren) report.” That includes Mutko, who has denied that the government directed the doping program.
The IOC said it will not grant any Rio accreditation “to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the (McLaren) report.” That includes Mutko, who has denied that the government directed the doping program.
Mutko has already suspended five top deputies, including his number two Yury Nagornykh, described as the point man for running the cheating scheme.
The IOC is now racing against the clock to reach a final position on the status of Russian athletes in Rio.
WADA, the German Olympic committee and anti-doping bodies across the globe have backed calls for Russia’s outright ban from Rio.
That would be the first time a country has been banned from an Olympic Games over doping.

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