IPC rules Russia must stay out in the cold but keeps options open

Sports

The International Paralympic Committee has decided to maintain the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee and will rule on whether it can compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in late January.

The IPC governing board also was decided to keep in place an interim measure for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in qualification events across four winter sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard.

An IPC statement said the measure, first announced in September, “aims to preserve the ability of the RPC to enter its qualified athletes into the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games should it have its suspension lifted in time.”

According to an IPC taskforce five key criteria remain to be met before it will recommend a lifting of the suspension to the IPC governing board.

They are:

·       The approval of the RPC’s constitution by the IPC membership department
·       Completion of all budget-related aspects of the reinstatement criteria
·       Confirmation from the Russian Ministry of Sport that the required changes to the Russian legislation have been passed in order to allow for the proper enforcement of provisional and final suspensions against athlete support personnel (and reflection of those changes in the standard athlete support personnel agreements used by the Centre of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia (CSP)
·       The full reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
·       The provision of an official response specifically and adequately addressing the findings made by Professor McLaren.

A formal request by the RPC for the removal of the reinstatement criteria relating to the reinstatement of RUSADA by WADA and the provision of a response adequately addressing the McLaren findings was also rejected by the IPC Governing Board on Tuesday.

Andrew Parsons, IPC president, said: “Although the IPC governing board continues to be impressed at the level of co-operation and progress made so far by the RPC, it is united in its decision to maintain the suspension as the reinstatement criteria have not yet been met in full.

“The RPC is making headway with the IPC on three of the five remaining reinstatement criteria, however sadly, and much to our growing disappointment and frustration, there is a lack of progress regarding an official response from the Russian authorities specifically and adequately addressing the McLaren findings and evidence.

“Since last December’s second McLaren report yet more evidence has come to light to support and add weight to his findings.  If the Russian authorities believe his findings and evidence are not credible, then suitable supporting evidence and explanations should be provided to properly rebut them. So far nothing has been forthcoming.

“As the deadline for athlete entries for PyeongChang 2018 is 23 February, the IPC Governing Board’s next meeting from 26-28 January really is the last chance for Russia to meet the criteria in time for the Games.”

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