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Russian Olympic chief pledges full wage debts repayment to foreign specialists

February 18, 18:52 UTC+3 LILLEHAMMER
According to media reports earlier in the month, foreign specialists working in Russian Olympic sports teams were not paid their salaries by the ROC starting January 1
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ROC President Alexander Zhukov

ROC President Alexander Zhukov

© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

LILLEHAMMER, February 18. /TASS/. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) will see that all recently emerged wage arrears to foreign coaches and specialists will be repaid in full, ROC President Alexander Zhukov said on Thursday.

According to media reports earlier in the month, foreign specialists working in Russian Olympic sports teams were not paid their salaries by the ROC starting January 1.

"The financing on behalf of the ROC within the frames of support program on preparations of the Russian team for the Games in Rio de Janeiro will continue in full volume," Zhukov told journalists.

The problem with the wage arrears emerged after on January 21 the Central Bank of Russia revoked a license from Vneshprombank, which at that time was the country’s 40th biggest lender in terms of assets. Money, which the ROC paid as salaries to foreign coaches and specialists working in Russian sports, was kept in Vneshprombank.

"The stance of the [Russian] Olympic Committee in regard to financing of foreign coaches, who work during the winter season, is unchanged and all our assumed obligations will be fulfilled," Zhukov said. "If problems emerge, we are dealing with them."

"Speaking about winter sports it is first of all necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of each invited foreign coach’s work and determine the feasibility of future cooperation in each particular case considering preparations for the [2018] Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang," he said.

"All of these issues are under active consideration in the ROC, the Sports Ministry and sports federations," Zhukov added.

The Russian national teams of bobsleigh and skeleton were hit harder by the developing situation in wage debts owed to foreign coaches as compared to other sports. A source familiar with the situation told TASS earlier in the day, that the coaching staff of the national bobsleigh and skeleton teams was unpaid for half a year.

Georgy Bedzhamov, the president of the Russian Federation of Bobsleigh (RFB), was one of the shareholders of Vneshprombank. His sister Larisa Markus, the president and co-owner of Vneshprombank, was arrested on December 22 on fraud charges.

Bedzhamov has been the president of the RFB since September 2010 and he has been also the vice president of International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) since his election to this post in May 2014.

Bedzhamov is currently not in Russia. According to various media reports, he fled to Monaco in late December and had plans of asking for a political asylum in Europe.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said earlier commenting on Bedzhamov’s absence in the country that the ministry would raise the issue of electing a new head of the RFB in case the current president continued ignoring his responsibilities.

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