Wednesday 15 August 2018

Sport Ireland backs IOC decision to ban Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Sport Ireland have expressed their support for the International Olympic Committee's decision to effectively ban Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The IOC announced on Monday that there will be no Russian flags or anthems in Pyeongchang, and only Russians who can prove they have not cheated - verified by credible anti-doping agencies - will be invited to take part.

They will compete as 'Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR)', in uniforms which bear that acronym, under the Olympic flag. The Olympic anthem will be played in any ceremony.

The sanction was recommended by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) disciplinary commission led by ex-Swiss president Samuel Schmid.

He has spent 17 months investigating claims Russia doped more than 1,000 athletes, across 30 sports, between 2011 and 2015.

That conspiracy, which has also been been corroborated by two World Anti-Doping Agency-funded investigations, reached spy-novel proportions at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Russia 'won' a record 33 medals, 11 of which have since been stripped.

Commenting on the decision, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy said: “The decision of the IOC to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect is welcome in the interest of protecting clean athletes. The decision sets a strong precedent and sends out a clear message that state-sponsored doping and the subversion of anti-doping will not be tolerated.

“While the IOC states that it may partially or fully lift the suspension of the ROC from the commencement of the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games, it is important that any decision relating to the reinstatement is only taken once the ‘WADA Roadmap’ recommendations are fully implemented.”

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr. Una May, added: “The announcement of the IOC decision to suspend Russia is a welcome one for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of sport. Together with our international iNADO colleagues, Sport Ireland has been consistently calling for strong sanctions against Russia in light of what was uncovered in the McLaren Report and confirmed by the Oswald Commission.

“In the interest of clean athletes worldwide the opportunity must now be taken for a strong and independent Russian Anti-Doping Agency to take control of the situation. But for this to happen the Russian authorities must now acknowledge the proven institutionalised state doping so progress can be made and athletes can again compete for their country in a clean and fair manner.”

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