Should Russia be tossed from the Rio Olympics because of a sophisticated drug doping scheme? Would that be the end of a sports sanctioned punishment or the beginning of a sports sanction ban of all Russian sports teams in international competition? These are important questions to be answered because Russia is supposed to be the host country of the 2018 World Cup of soccer and is building facilities to house the matches. There is also a question of Russian participation in the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics. The sports guardian, World Anti-Doping Agency, wants Russia banned from competition until the Russian sports culture changes. The International Olympic Winter Sports Federations are being told to not get involved in any competitions in Russia.
It is extremely difficult to ascertain what this all means and does a ban on Russians in sports competitions extend to the National Hockey League Players Association World Cup in September? That is unlikely because the North American leagues that employ Russians including the NHL and the National Basketball Association do not have to live by decisions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. So far, no hockey players have been outed by any reports for being involved in a doping scandal. The same holds true for National Basketball Association players.
So how do you kick out countries? Pretty simple, the International Olympic Committee is a private business and can do whatever it wants and the Olympics is a private business that somehow depends on public money. Many people want the public money out of the Olympics, voters in multiple countries. The Russian doping story is not going to be helpful when the IOC goes begging for public money. But with all of the problems of Rio, the stories out of South Korea about financial problems and problems in Tokyo who really wants the Olympics?
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.