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IOC: Russia Not Guaranteed to Participate at Pyeongchang 2018 Despite Invitation

A fan holding the Russian flag at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Photo: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The International Olympic Committee has reiterated that a decision will be made on Russia’s participation at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games at a later date, despite the country receiving an invitation to the Games.

During the one-year to go celebrations, IOC President Thomas Bach invited all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to compete at next year’s Games.

Doubts have been raised over the participation of Russia at the Games following the publication of the second McLaren Report in December.

More than 1,000 Russian athletes in summer, winter and Paralympic sports were involved in a widespread state-sponsored doping system akin to an “institutional conspiracy” Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren claimed when he published the second part of his report in London.

The IOC has confirmed the country have been sent the invitation, along with all other NOCs, but have stressed this does not guarantee their participation at the Games.

“The Russian Olympic Committee was invited last week along with the other National Olympic Committees,” an IOC spokesperson told insidethegames.

“The decision regarding the eligibility of teams and athletes will be made at a later stage.”

Disciplinary proceedings have been opened by the IOC against 28 Russians who competed at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

The IOC’s Oswald Commission is looking into allegations of sample manipulation at Sochi 2014, while it is also analyzing all samples given by Russian athletes at London 2012.

Another IOC Commission, chaired by Samuel Schmid, the former President of the Swiss Confederation and a member of the IOC Ethics Commission, is addressing the “institutional conspiracy across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure, such as RUSADA, CSP and the Moscow Laboratory along with the FSB”.

A decision could be made following the completion of this process, but no time frame has yet been confirmed.

In December, Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov claimed the country should not be banned by the IOC from competing in next year’s Games.

Russia avoided a blanket ban from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with decisions over the extent of participation of their athletes participation taken by International Federations.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), however, banned the country from the Games after suspending the Russian Paralympic Committee.

Russia face prospect of missing the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics as the suspension has not yet been lifted by the IPC.

By Michael Pavitt

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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