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IOC turns to Ethics Commission’s advice to allow Russia’s Stepanova at 2016 Rio

July 07, 19:35 UTC+3 GENEVA
The statement says participation of Russia’s doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova involves important ethical aspects
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Russia’s runner Yulia Stepanova

Russia’s runner Yulia Stepanova

© EPA/PAUL ZINKEN

GENEVA, July 7. /TASS/. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested an evaluation from the organization’s Ethics Commission concerning the participation of Russia’s runner Yulia Stepanova at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the IOC said in its statement on Thursday.

Russian ex-doping official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, Russian runner Yulia Stepanova, were in the center of a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports aired by German TV Channel ARD in December 2014. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

"As the subject of a participation of Mrs Yulia Stepanova in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 involves important ethical aspects, the IOC Executive Board (EB) has decided to ask the IOC Ethics Commission for its advice in this respect," the statement said.

"This comes after the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] Doping Review Board, chaired by Robert Hersh [USA], declared Mrs Stepanova… eligible to compete in international track and field competitions as a neutral athlete… for ‘having made a truly exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of clean athletes, fair play and the integrity and authenticity of the sport.’"

"In a letter dated the same day, the Secretary General of the IAAF notified the IOC that Mrs Stepanova is eligible to compete in international competitions as a neutral athlete with immediate effect, including at the forthcoming Olympic Games. According to the IAAF criteria, such a participation is always subject to the rules of the organizer of the relevant international competition - in this case it is therefore subject to the Olympic Charter," the statement said.

"The deliberations of the IOC Ethics Commission will include the opportunity for a hearing for Mrs Stepanova," the statement from the IOC said. "As soon as the advice of the IOC Ethics Commission is available, the IOC EB will then take all of the circumstances of the case into consideration and decide whether it merits an exception to the rules of the Olympic Charter."

Following its session in Vienna on June 17, IAAF decided to keep in force the earlier imposed suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation’s (ARAF) membership in the global athletics body.

The suspension implied that Russian field and track athletes were ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil except those, who proved to be doping-clean.

The IAAF announced late last month that it amended the organization’s regulations in order to allow field and track athletes from Russia to submit individual applications for international tournaments.

The world’s governing body of athletics, however, emphasized that Russians, admitted to competitions on an individual basis, would be unable to perform as part of the national team and would participate only under the neutral flag.

July 4 was set as the deadline for the submission of individual applications, while the 2016 Summer Olympics are scheduled to be held in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro between August 5 and 21.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne announced on Monday that it received a filed lawsuit from the Russian Olympic Committee against IAAF in defense of the national field and track athletes wishing to participate in the 2016 Summer Games.

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