IOC starts disciplinary procedures against 28 Russian athletes

IOC starts disciplinary procedures against 28 Russian athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is launching disciplinary cases against all 28 Russian athletes implicated in the manipulation of urine samples collected at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, it said on Friday.

The step follows publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report this month that found more than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over the course of five years.

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who has previously accused Russia of “state-sponsored” cheating, said in the WADA report that he had confirmed the switching of samples at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and that salt and coffee were used to manipulate samples.

More than 1,000 athletes in the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics “can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive testing”, his report said. Information on 695 Olympic athletes had been sent to sports federations.

“Well known and elite level athletes” were among competitors whose tests were “falsified”. “A cover-up that evolved over the years from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning strategy and conspiracy,” McLaren said as he introduced his report.

Russia’s sports ministry again denied state backing for doping. But the report said the campaign that started about 2011 came under official control from 2012 under then sports minister Vitaly Mutko amid fears that the cheating would be detected.

“An institutional conspiracy existed across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the ministry of sport and its infrastructure,” said McLaren. “These activities were supported by senior Russian officials, including the minister and deputy minister of sport.”

— AFP/Reuters