Russia escapes blanket ban from Rio Olympics

International Olympic Committee will not ban Russia from the Rio Games, despite report finding evicence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes  

The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters building in Moscow
The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters building in Moscow

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not impose a blanket ban on Russia for next month's Olympic Games in Rio over the nation's doping record but will leave decisions on individual athletes' participation with their sports federations, it said on Sunday.

The IOC's announcement follows a call by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for Russia to be banned from the Rio games in response to an independent report that found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The world governing body's ruling 15-member executive board met on Sunday via teleconference - with the Rio Games' opening ceremony less than two weeks away-- and decided that responsibility for ruling on the eligibility of Russians remains with the international federations

The report, produced by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, revealed extensive doping and cover-ups across a series of summer and winter Olympic sports, in particular at the Sochi Winter Olympics hosted by Russia in 2014.

The IOC this week said that it would not organise or give patronage to any sports event in Russia and that no member of the Russian Sports Ministry implicated in the report would be accredited for Rio.

It had also ordered the immediate re-testing of all Russian athletes from the Sochi Olympics, as well as a full inquiry into the alleged doping cover-ups, and had instructed all international winter sports federations to halt preparations for major events in Russia.

The report has prompted several international sports federations, anti-doping agencies and athletes to call for a blanket ban of all sports at Rio, though some have said they are against punishing innocent athletes.

Russian officials and government officers have claimed that the doping allegations are part of a Western conspiracy against their country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned that the affair could split the Olympic movement, bringing echoes of the 1980s when the United States led a political boycott of the Moscow Games of 1980 and the Soviet Union led an Eastern Bloc boycott of the Los Angeles Games four years later.

More in Olympics