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Decision to admit team Russia to Rio Games based on fairness - IOC president

August 02, 6:14 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO
It was a decision fairness, which should always be independent of politics, Thomas Bach said
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RIO DE JANEIRO, August 2. /TASS/. A decision to let Team Russia participate in the 2016 Summer OIympic Games in Rio was based on the principle of fairness that should not have anything in common with politics, Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee said while opening the 129th session of the IOC.

The issue of Team Russia’s admittance to the Games was raised after publication of a report by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency led by Dr. Richard McClaren of Canada, who charged the Russian authorities with conniving the Russian athletes’ violations in the use of doping.

The IOC executive board decided refrain from imposing a blanket ban on the Russian team and delegated the power to approve athletes for participation to international sports federations.

Bach said several decisions had been taken on the problem of Russian athletes’ admittance to the Games. He indicated the IOC did not find it possible to apply the principle of presumption of innocence to the Russian athletes given the seriousness of charges brought on against them.

On the other hand, however, the IOC could not deny them their right to prove their innocence.

There is no punishing a person for the violations committed by the government if he or she is uninvolved in these violations, and this very principle was applied, Bach said.

He said it was a decision fairness, which should always be independent of politics.

The data featured in the McClaren report are very serious and they concern, in part, the Russian Sports Ministry’s involvement in the doping system, Bach said.

If this is true, the whole situation means an unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and the Olympic Games.

The IOC reacted to the McClaren commission data promptly and took definite steps, even thoughthe commission has not finalized its report yet. The ruling of the executive board was unanimous and proceeded from the decision of the Olympic Summit that had been supported by all the parties concerned, Bach said.

The final list of athletes of Team Russia at the Games has not been finalized to date. The Games will be held from August 5 through August 21.

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