(AFP) – Seventeen national anti-doping agencies have called for Russia to be banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics over “one of the biggest doping scandals in sports history”.
In a statement issued at the end of a two-day meeting in Denver, Colorado, officials charged the International Olympic Committee had failed to hold Russia accountable despite evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping over a wide array of sports.
Russian track and field athletes were barred from the Rio Olympics last year and from the athletics World Championships in London last month.
But the IOC declined to issue a blanket ban of Russia from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Officials at this week’s meeting, including representatives of anti-doping organizations from the United States, France, Germany and Britian, insisted an IOC lack of action on Russia “imperils clean athletes and the future of the Olympic movement”.
“A country’s sport leaders and organizations should not be given credentials to the Olympics when they intentionally violate the rules and rob clean athletes. This is especially unfair when athletes are punished when they violate the rules,” the statement said.
It added that they remained committed to providing criteria for individual Russian athletes to compete as neutrals if they have been subject to “robust anti-doping protocols”.
“The failure to expeditiously investigate individual Russian athlete doping poses a clear and present danger for clean athletes worldwide and at the 2018 Winter Games,” the group said.
“We have serious doubts that the 2018 Games will be clean due to the incomplete investigation of massive evidence of individual doping by Russians athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and given the inadequate testing evidence of Russian athletes over the past four years.”
The group voiced support for the World Anti-Doping Agency requirement that Russia take public responsibility for the doping charges outlined in the McLaren Report, or provide “credible proof to refute it”.
With five months remaining before the Pyeongchang Games begin on February 9, there is no time for delay, the group said.
“It’s time for action. Athletes want to see results — not more lip service– that actually support their decision to compete clean.”