Citing ‘medals over morals’, a decision taken unanimously by the IPC (International Parlaympic Committee) Governing Board, has resulted in the suspension of the entire Russian Paralympic team from competition in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
A press release on the IPC’s website said the decision was made due to Russia’s inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations; In particular, its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory).
After evaluating all of the evidence before it, and allowing the Russian Paralympic Committee to present its case both in writing and in person, the IPC Governing Board unanimously determined that the Russian Paralympic Committee is unable to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction.
These obligations are a fundamental constitutional requirement for all National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), and are vital to the IPC’s ability to ensure fair competition and to provide a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.
The effect of the suspension is that the Russian Paralympic Committee loses all rights and privileges of IPC membership. In particular, a member is not entitled to be heard, except with respect to their suspension, or to vote at meetings of members, and/or to enter athletes in competitions sanctioned by the IPC, and/or to participate in IPC activities. Consequently, the Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter its athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Craven further said, “Ultimately, as the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement, it is our responsibility to ensure fair competition, so that athletes can have confidence that they are competing on a level playing field. This is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport, and in order to achieve this it is fundamental that each member abides by the rules.”
“Since the publication of the McLaren Report on 18 July our priority has been to establish the full facts in respect of Para sport. A decision of this magnitude must be evidence based and not influenced by the many and varied views of other people or organisations outside of the IPC and the Paralympic Movement.”
The McLaren Report can be found HERE
The IPC Governing Board stated “In particular, we have taken the necessary time to ask further questions of Professor McLaren and his investigation team, to await the results of samples undergoing further forensic examination and to invite the Russian Paralympic Committee to present its case to the IPC and enter into dialogue with the IPC Governing Board.”
“With the full facts to hand, we were deeply saddened to find that the State-sponsored doping programme that exists within Russian sport regrettably extends to Russian Para sport as well.”
“Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State-run system that is cheating the athletes. The doping culture that is polluting Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one, but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.”
“Our decision is driven by the need to hold our members accountable for their obligations. On the basis of the evidence we have, in the current environment our member the Russian Paralympic Committee cannot comply with the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code. Those obligations are crucial to the IPC’s guarantee of fair competition for all.”
IPC President, Sir Philip Craven stated, “I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport. Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sport, and has certainly resulted in a devastating outcome for the Russian Paralympic Committee and Para athletes.”
“I have deep sympathy for Russian Para athletes who will miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. They are part of a broken system and we sincerely hope that the changes that need to happen, do happen. Russia has some top-quality athletes across all sports and we look forward to the day when we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling all its obligations in order to ensure a level playing field for all.”
In line with the IPC’s Suspension Policy, the Russian Paralympic Committee now has 21 days (28 August) to appeal the decision.