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Neutral status at 2018 Olympics unacceptable for Russian athletes — deputy premier

November 04, 23:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In August 2017, Russian track and field athletes competed under a neutral flag at the world championships

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MOSCOW, November 4. /TASS/. Russian athletes’ competition under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang is an unacceptable solution to Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Saturday.

The next Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018 and Russia’s participation in the event is still under question. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is likely to ban Russian athletes from competing under the national flag given it finds conclusions of the WADA Commission headed by Canadian law professor Richard MacLaren convincing.

"A neutral flag? The head of state has clearly defined his position by saying that those are totally inadmissible things for our country. When athletes competed under a neutral flag in some sports and disciplines, we did not object it as they were able to maintain their skills and take part in qualifications," Mutko said.

In August 2017, Russian track and field athletes competed under a neutral flag at the world championships and Paralympic athletes are selected to compete under a neutral flag.

In July 2016, the IOC set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as alleged involvement of state officials in manipulations with performance enhancing drugs, particularly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.

The first of the two commissions is an Inquiry Commission, chaired by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The commission is looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleges the existence of a supposed institutional conspiracy in Russia’s summer and winter sports, in which the country’s state officials were allegedly engaged in.

The second investigative body at the issue is a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission is tasked to address alleged doping uses and manipulation of samples concerning the Russian athletes, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

The next Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018 and Russia’s participation in the event is still under a question.

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