No Ban Yet, but IOC Hands Out Initial Doping Sanctions to Russia

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has begun handing out sanctions to Russia after Monday’s release of the McLaren report that confirmed suspicions of state-sponsored doping in the country ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The IOC, saying that it still has to review legal hurdles and solidify some of the details in the report before they’re able to take so drastic of an action as to bar Russia completely from the Olympics, has announced initial sanctions against the Russian Olympic Committee that are within its power.

Among those provisional actions is

  • the IOC refusing to grant Russia any sports event or meetings (including plans for the 2019 European Games by the European Olympic Committees)
  • Refusing to grant accreditation to any official of the Russian Ministroy of Sport, or anyone implicated in the McLaren report, to the Rio Olympics
  • Initiating reanalysis into all Russian athletes who participated in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as well as their coaches and other support staff
  • Asking all winter sports federations under the umbrella of the IOC to freeze preparations for major events in Russia and to actively look for alternative organizers

The IOC says that they must also await the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who on July 21st is expected to announce a decision in the Russian Olympic Committee’s proceedings against the IAAF to bar all Russian track & field athletes from the Olympics.

FINA has not responded to a request for comment on whether this would impact upcoming hosting duties in Russia, including the 2016 World Cup series stop in Moscow. Earlier this week, FINA posted a message of support for the Russian Federation, before release of the McLaren report, and the Russians last week said that they had a positive meeting with FINA about future hosting duties.

The full IOC press release, including an outlining of steps that they will take, is below.

“The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games. Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.

Today, the IOC Executive Board (EB) expressed its appreciation of the work of the “Independent Person” (IP), Mr Richard McLaren. The IOC fully supports his request to continue and finalise his work, in particular since so far the “compressed timeline of the IP investigation did not permit compilation of data to establish an anti-doping rule violation” (IP Report page 4).

The International Sports Organisations will now have to evaluate the IP Report and then take the appropriate measures, according to their respective rules.

1. This means for the IOC that, following Rule 59 of the Olympic Charter, the EB has today started disciplinary actions related to the involvement of officials within the Russian Ministry of Sports and other persons mentioned in the report because of violations of the Olympic Charter and the World Anti-Doping Code. To accelerate this procedure, the IOC EB has established a Disciplinary Commission and has, following Bye-law 1 to Rule 59 of the Olympic Charter, delegated the task of establishing the facts and granting the hearings required by Bye-law 3 to Rule 59, and by natural justice.

As members of this Disciplinary Commission the following people have been appointed:

  • Guy Canivet (Chair) (Vice-Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission and former member of the French Constitutional Court)
  • Robin Mitchell (Vice-Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, Member of the IOC Ethics Commission)
  • Yang Yang (Athletes’ representative on the IOC Ethics Commission)
  • Andrew Ryan (Executive Director of ASOIF)
  • Wolfgang Schobersberger (Representative of the International Winter Sport Federations, Member of the FIS Medical Commission).

The Commission can refer to any external expertise and support to fulfil its mandate.

2. With regard to the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the IOC will carefully evaluate the IP Report. 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. In this respect, the IOC will have to take the CAS decision on 21 July 2016 concerning the IAAF rules into consideration, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Charter.

3. Given the urgency of the matter the IOC EB has already taken the following provisional measures:

  • The IOC will not organise or give patronage to any sports event or meeting in Russia. This includes plans for the European Games 2019 organised by the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
  • The IOC will not grant any accreditation to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the IP Report for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Rio 2016.
  • The IOC will initiate reanalysis, including forensic analysis, and a full inquiry into all Russian athletes who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and their coaches, officials and support staff. For this purpose, a specific Disciplinary Commission is set up under the chairmanship of Mr Denis Oswald. Following the report of this Commission, the IOC EB will impose all the appropriate sanctions.
  • Because of the detailed references to the manipulation of samples during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 the IOC asks all International Olympic Winter Sports Federations to freeze their preparations for major events in Russia, such as World Championships, World Cups or other major international competitions under their responsibility, and to actively look for alternative organisers.
  • The IOC asks all IFs for a full inquiry and, in case of implication in infringements of the World Anti-Doping Code, sanctions against Russian National Federations by the respective IF. Such inquiries should be coordinated with the work of the IP, Mr Richard McLaren.

These provisional measures apply until 31 December 2016. They will be reviewed by the IOC EB at its meeting in December 2016.

4. The EB reiterates and supports the measure already announced by the Olympic Summit on 21 June 2016 to reverse the “presumption of innocence” of athletes from Russia with regard to doping. This means that the eligibility of each Russian athlete will have to be decided by his or her International Federation (IF) based on an individual analysis of his or her international anti-doping record. The EB also took note of the actions already being undertaken by the IFs in cooperation with WADA with regard to targeted international tests of Russian athletes in accordance with the declaration of the Olympic Summit.

5. In this context, the IOC asks WADA to extend the mandate of the IP, Mr Richard McLaren, to communicate the names of Russian athletes implicated in the “Disappearing Positive Methodology” and the alleged manipulation of the doping tests performed by the Sochi laboratory to the respective International Federations and, where appropriate, to the IOC, in order to allow them to take swift action.

6. Since, for the IOC as an international non-governmental organisation, the Russian Ministry of Sports and its subordinated organisations such as the Center of Sports Preparations of National Teams of Russia (CSP) and the Russian Federal Research Center of Physical Culture and Sport (VNIIFK) are beyond its reach, it will forward the results of its inquiries to UNESCO and WADA to take further measures and sanctions in application of the UNESCO “Convention against Doping in Sport“ and the World Anti-Doping Code.

7. The IOC EB notes with great concern the deficiencies revealed by the IP, Mr Richard McLaren, in the fight against doping. Therefore the IOC reiterates the call of the Olympic Summit on 21 June 2016 to fully review the anti-doping system by requesting WADA to convene an “Extraordinary World Conference on Doping” in 2017. The Olympic Summit on 8 October 2016 will propose further measures in this respect. This will include proposals to clarify and increase transparency of the respective responsibilities in the fight against doping; the accreditation and supervision procedures of WADA accredited laboratories; and the WADA “International Standards for Laboratories” (ISL).The IOC is reinforcing the request issued by the Olympic Summit on 17 October 2015 to make the entire anti-doping system independent from sports organisations.

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Joel Lin
4 years ago

It appears the IOC will dovetail on the CAS outcome Thursday. I’m guessing the odds of a Russian team are 0.00% now. The only concern is potential legal liability for the IOC, but that is powerfully offset by the liability if they don’t sanction Russia at this point. As a wild (and unrealistic) hypothetical, if a Russian won the men’s 100 back there is a quantifiable impact on the career earnings for the silver medalist and the 4th place finisher; whomever they may be. There is an enormous delta between the endorsement income of an Olympic champion versus next medalists and then another delta between those medalists and the 4th place finishers. The IOC has no other way out than… Read more »

Brad Flood
Reply to  Joel Lin
4 years ago

It is my swimcerest hope your scenario becomes reality Sir Lin, however, it is predicated on Thursday’s CAS ruling upholding the IAAF Olympic ban on the Russian “Athletics” teams. It is also my swimcerest hope that upholding the IAAF ban is the CAS ruling on Thursday.

So as to be completely understood by the Russian perpetrators of these crimes against ALL Olympic sports:

Do svidaniya Rossiya

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Joel Lin
4 years ago

Ruta Meilutyte and Rieke Moeller Pedersen approve!

4 years ago

Anything from FINA yet? Makes you go “humm”!

Brad Flood
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Braden, they will surely respond……..but only after the check clears the bank!

Reply to  Brad Flood
4 years ago

Yep, I’ll bet they respond to Vladimir Putin every time.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

I’d feel better if they banned FINA as well 🙂

Charlie Carson
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Oh, gee, then I guess I should feel privileged to have a response from Cornel regarding FINA’s rejection of three world Masters relay records set at the 2010 Cologne Gay Games. Their reasoning was that FINA didn’t recognize as legitimate records set at an event “owned” by another entity — a rule apparently passed some months earlier but never posted to the website. Never mind that the event was sanctioned by German Masters Swimming, nor that FINA had recognized world records set years earlier at the 1994 Gay Games in New York. Apparently this new rule that nobody knew about who hadn’t been to the committee meeting that passed it had to do with an ongoing dispute between Cornel and… Read more »

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Charlie Carson
4 years ago

FINA has not even ratified a whole list of swims that broke Junior World Records stretching back to 2014. And many of these swims were even swum in their own FINA world junior championships last year!!!

Reply to  Ridiculousness
4 years ago

FINA’s motto- “Water is our world because we have the spines of jellyfish”.

Don’t expect much out of the organization that gave awards to Putin last year unless the IOC metaphorically hold a gun to their heads.

David Berkoff
Reply to  beachmouse
4 years ago

Cornel is too busy counting money.

4 years ago

The McLaren report was an interesting read. “Athletes that were ordered SAVE tended to be medal winners or athletes of promise”. “Foreign athletes or Russian athletes deemed UNPROMISING were ordered Quarantine”. The only difference between Russia and USA Swimming is that USA Swimming bends over backwards for foreign athletes. Always wondered if officials within USA Swimming were on Russia’s payroll.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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