Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rio Olympics Could Descend into Farce and It Will Be the Fault of the IOC; Passing the Buck over Ban Means Chaos in Build-Up to Games and Eyebrows Will Be Raised When Russia Win a Medal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rio Olympics Could Descend into Farce and It Will Be the Fault of the IOC; Passing the Buck over Ban Means Chaos in Build-Up to Games and Eyebrows Will Be Raised When Russia Win a Medal

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

N 11 days' time, Russian sportsmen and women will enter the Maracana Stadium behind their nation's flag.

IHow many there will be is currently unknown as the 27 international sporting federations one by one declare the fate of the Russian contingent in their sport after the International Olympic Committee, led by president Thomas Bach, monstrously passed the buck yesterday.

Whatever the numbers and names of the team, their every move will be pored over with an understandable degree of scepticism in light of the latest doping revelations laid bare by former Moscow anti-laboratory chief Dr Grigory Rodchenkov in last week's latest World Anti-Doping Agency independent report by Professor Richard McLaren.

Every time a medal is won by a Russian -- whatever the sport -- eyebrows will be raised, the IOC with their decision paving the way for a potentially farcical Olympics. The acting director general of Rusada (Russian anti-doping) Anna Antseliovich this morning tried to reassure the watching global audience that they could believe in their team being clean in Rio.

"Starting in November 2015, we have been working closely with UK Anti-Doping with two international experts recommended by WADA," she told the Today programme.

"We provided access to our database and asked UKAD to do testing of our athletes. Our minister has apologised for the past and admitted we have problems. The McLaren report was embarrassing and shocking for us, and people were suspended and they're waiting for their punishment."

The IOC position not to impose a blanket ban on Russia has been met with incredulity by WADA, who are standing by their previous recommendation that a wholesale block on Russia in Rio must be imposed.

And WADA's founding president Dick Pound, who had previously raised fears the IOC executive board would pass the buck for any decision on to its international federations, echoed those sentiments.

"The IOC had a huge opportunity to make a statement," he said. "It's been squandered," adding that it showed the IOC had a "zero tolerance for doping unless it's Russia". The ensuing days will be a case of Russian roulette with no cohesive approach for the international federations on how to rule, many of them taking no more than an educated guess at Russian eligibility for their sport with the full extent of doping in the country unknown.

In detailing his 57 days' work this time a week ago, McLaren had admitted he had only scratched the surface, WADA in its statement last night backing that up by pushing the fact it would be employing McLaren to finish the job namely further exposing Russian cheating and one would assume opening up the IOC to further ridicule as each painstaking facet of doping is exposed across the litany of sports. …

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