IOC president Bach defends Russia decision

Dec 31, 2017 - 11:25 AM International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has defended the decisions to ban the Russian Olympic Committee from the 2018 Winter Games over doping but allow Russian athletes to compete if they can show they are clean.

In an interview with Germany's Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Bach dismissed criticism that it was a decision by the IOC to appease Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Responding to a question by Die Welt referring to the decision as a "pseudo ban" Bach said it was an "untenable theory" heard mainly in Germany.

"How far this is from reality, you see not only the reaction of the public in Russia, but in particular to the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister Vital Mutko, suspended for life by the IOC, wants to challenge this penalty," Bach said.

"Obviously, prejudices continue to be cultivated here.

"The same voices called for a total exclusion even before the conclusion of due process, to which every person and every organisation has a claim.

"And anyone who was not for a total exclusion was called unethical, and I still wonder today why it should be ethical to punish innocent athletes."

Bach said that allowing eligible individual Russian athletes to compete in Pyeongchang at the February 9-25 Winter Games, under the name 'Olympic Athletes from Russia' (OAR) was an "acknowledgement of reality".

Clean Russian athletes invited to the Games "must endure a degree of collective punishment, even though they are individually innocent," he added.

There would be no Russian team, flag or anthem.

"(But) you cannot - and this is a fine line - humiliate these athletes by depriving them of their origins," Bach said, explaining why the name OAR would be used.

Bach said investigations provided solid evidence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia, especially during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

A total of 43 Russian athletes have been suspended for life by the IOC. It is unclear whether the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will confirm all the suspensions.

Bach recalled that in a doping issue involving Austrian athletes in 2006 in Turin, the CAS confirmed all lifelong Olympic bans by the IOC.

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!