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MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Russia is ready to organize its own alternative tournament for national Paralympians in case the national Paralympic team is barred from participating in 2018 Winter Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.
"We continue supporting the team, provide financing for its work and keep up with the calendar of events," Mutko said.
"It is indeed hard to imagine such scenario, but in case the (Russian national Paralympic) team is denied access to take part in the Games, we will hold alternative tournament in March in Khanty-Mansiisk and will organize it at the highest possible level."
President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sir Philip Craven announced in May that the Russian national team would be barred from participating in the 2018 Paralympics in case the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) failed to implement by September all of the set criteria in the roadmap, put forward by his organization.
"We keep providing the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) with the necessary support for its membership reinstatement (with the IPC)," Mutko said. "We have signed the road map, which stipulate among other provisions that the government must not interfere into the management of the organization."
"The RPC is currently in work on its (rod map’s) implementation," Russia’s former minister of sports said. "We continue supporting Paralympic sports in the country."
On August 7, 2016, the IPC decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 23 upheld the IPC ruling that came on the heels of a report delivered in July by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.
The McLaren-led commission claimed in particular that a total of 35 doping samples were concealed by Russian Paralympic sports between 2012 and 2015.
Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend the RPC membership in the international organization. The Russian Paralympic team is now facing the possibility of being banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.
The IPC announced in February that it had reached certain progress with the RPC (Russian Paralympic Committee) on the national organization’s membership reinstatement in the global body.
However, the IPC added that the Russian Paralympic body needed to work further on implementing its reinstatement criteria, while the currently imposed suspension would remain in force for an indefinite period.