Athletics

IOC to decide on Russia ban within a week; Pound says they're 'very reluctant' to go ahead

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Dick Pound

Image credit: AFP

ByEurosport
20/07/2016 at 10:58 | Updated 20/07/2016 at 12:25

The International Olympic Committee will decide over a blanket ban for Russian athletes at Rio 2016 in the next week.

Dick Pound, the IOC member whose report into doping led to Russia’s ban from track and field athletics last year, claims that the IOC are ‘very reluctant’ to ban Russia from the Olympics.

“I do get the impression, reading between the lines, that the IOC is for some reason very reluctant to think about a total exclusion of the Russian team,” said Pound, speaking to the BBC.

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Pound is a former head of WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency), and believes a ban is the right course of action because the McLaren report had failed to determine the innocence of any Russia athletes under the umbrella of state doping.

“There may or may not be clean Russian athletes,” he said.

“But if you look at the McLaren report it is pretty clear it was endemic, it was a government instituted programme and that every doping test was scanned to make sure there wasn’t a positive - and if it happened to be a Russian athlete who had a positive test it disappeared and it was replaced by a negative test.

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“It is going to be very hard to satisfy anybody that someone in that system who is at a level that gets him or her to an Olympic Games is in fact clean.

“We’ve got institutionalised, government-organised cheating on a wide scale across a whole range of sports in a country,” he said. “You’ve got to send a message that will deter that conduct.

“One of the ways you can do that is to say: ‘We just don’t want to play with you any more. You’re cheating. You’re destroying the competitions in which you’re participating. It’s not fair to anybody else. So why don’t you take a vacation?’”

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