IOC offers full support for IAAF decision to ban Russians


LONDON (AP) — The IOC threw its support behind the decision to ban Russia’s track and field team from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and said Saturday it will take “further far-reaching measures” to crack down on doping ahead of the games.

The International Olympic Committee said it “welcomes and supports” and “fully respects” Friday’s ruling by track and field’s world governing body to maintain its ban on Russia because of widespread doping.

The IOC, which has ultimate authority over the Olympics, also noted that the IAAF has control over which track and field athletes are eligible to compete at the games.

“The eligibility of athletes in any international competition including the Olympic Games is a matter for the respective international federation,” the IOC said.

The strong statement appeared to rule out any possibility of the IOC trying to overturn or amend the IAAF decision. There had been speculation that the IOC could try to impose a compromise that would allow Russian athletes without doping violations to be able to compete.

However, by accepting the IAAF decision and the federation’s jurisdiction over the athletes, the IOC indicated it will not interfere. That suggests Russia’s only recourse for fighting the decision will be at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC also opened the door to potential further sanctions against Russian or other athletes.

“The IOC will initiate further far-reaching measures in order to ensure a level playing field for all the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games” in Rio, it said.

The statement was issued after a teleconference meeting of the IOC executive board. It came three days ahead of a summit of sports leaders called by the IOC to address the eligibility issues for the games.

The IOC said Tuesday’s meeting “will address the situation of the countries in which the national anti-doping organization has been declared non-compliant by WADA for reasons of the non-efficient functioning of the national anti-doping system.”

In addition to Russia, Kenya is listed as non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency code and has been hit by numerous drug scandals in recent years.

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