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MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the head of the WADA Independent Commission, Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, have failed as of yet to give the names of the athletes suspected of violating anti-doping rules to the Russian Paralympic Committee, a member of the IPC Athletes’ Council, Mikhail Terentyev, told TASS on Monday.
"On Sunday (29 January) the IPC Governing Board unanimously turned down a request from the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) for it to enter athletes into upcoming qualification events for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games while it remains suspended," IPC said in a statement.
"McLaren does not give the names of the athletes either to the Russian Paralympic Committee or to WADA. Some violations from the state or state agencies are mentioned, but no concrete names of the athletes who could get a possibility to defend themselves in the international legal framework are given," Terentyev said. "This means that the present lineup of the Governing Board is incapable of making decisions basing on common sense," he added.
Initially, 35 Russian athletes were suspected of doping violations, as McLaren-led commission claimed that their doping samples were tampered with in the period between 2011 and 2015. However, it turned out later that 15 athletes from the list were from other countries.
"The IPC’s decision does not necessarily close the door on possible Russian participation at next year’s Games however," the IPC said. "Should the RPC continue to co-operate fully with the IPC Taskforce and meet the reinstatement criteria in full before PyeongChang 2018 then the IPC Governing Board will lift its suspension. In doing so it may then be possible for the RPC to enter athletes into qualification events or alternatively apply to the IPC for either bipartite or returned slots from NPCs in order for eligible athletes to compete at the Games."
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has told TASS the decision to bar Russian Paralympians does not draw the line in relations between the RPC and the IPC.
"I find it difficult to comment on this situation as the RPC is an independent public organization," he said. "But this decision does not draw the line in relations between these two organizations. It should not be taken as another ban, as a new sanction."
"If an organization is striped of membership, athletes cannot take part in competitions. There is a decision on suspending membership in the IPC, there are criteria to be met," he noted.
"These are tough criteria. It will take time to meet them and the RPC applied for permission to take part in qualification competitions in order not to skip the season. The second request was about one of the criteria. The RPC has received a refusal, so, it is necessary to focus on the implementation of the criteria. I think the RPC will do exactly this," Mutko said.