Russia drop out of hosting World Cup biathlon and speed skating events over doping crisis

Russia drop out of hosting World Cup biathlon and speed skating events

23/12/2016 at 07:26Updated 23/12/2016 at 08:42

The Russian Biathlon Union have opted against hosting a World Cup event in March amid the country's doping controversy.

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The McLaren report into supposedly state-sponsored systematic doping in Russian sport has stated that over 1,000 athletes in the country have benefited from the illegal scheme. And the nation's biathlon team have been heavily implicated in the scandal.

Russia Biathlon Team

Russia Biathlon TeamEurosport

The RBU had previously stated that they were still planning to host March's biathlon event and should "only be punished if our guilt can be properly proved".

But Russia have come under increasing international pressure to cancel the event, including the withdrawal of the British team.

"The Board of the British Biathlon Union has taken the unanimous decision that GBR will not compete at BWC 8 in Tyumen March 2017," a statement from the British governing body said. "This follows the brain-washed, deluded and dishonest comments of Russian World Cup athletes that McLaren is about politics, not sport.

"Moreover, the Board felt that the whole integrity of the very successful London 2012 Olympic Games has been called into question.

" Many of the results from Sochi must be regarded as a joke."

And the threat of a mass walkout at the event has persuaded Russia to give up the hosting rights.

"This is a first important step by the RBU to show to the International Biathlon Union and to the world of sport that the current situation is taken very seriously," the president of the RBU, Anders Besseberg, said.

Russia have also withdrawn from hosting a speed skating event in Chelyabinsk, also in March, on the same grounds.