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Russia to continue protecting athletes — sports minister

December 04, 15:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board is expected to announce a decision concerning Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games

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Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov

© Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Russia will continue to protect its athletes and consider them to be champions, despite any decisions that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes on December 5, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said at a meeting with the participants in the All-Russia Volunteer Forum.

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board is expected to announce a decision concerning Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. So far, 25 Russian athletes have received Olympic life bans for violating anti-doping rules at the 2014 Olympics, while their Sochi results have been annulled.

"This is indeed an illustrative case, because the international system of sports and Olympic legislation has proved to be very complicated and contradictory, since totally different decisions are made in similar cases and there are no common criteria," Kolobkov said. "As far as Russia is concerned, they set up a working group, but there are no such groups for other similar cases, so the wheel starts turning. All we can do is go to court and protect the interests of our guys whom we consider to be champions. But those people do not hear our voice, their media have been given certain instructions, but it is harmful not only to the Russian sports industry but to the global one, as well," the Russian sports minister added.

Kolobkov said he expected the IOC Executive Board members to be objective. "I very much hope that the IOC will make a balanced and right decision, I hope our colleagues will act reasonably and objectively," he said. "Tomorrow [IOC President] Thomas Bach will announce a decision and we will work with it," he added.

"It the decision is negative, then we will not give in to emotions, as there is a need to analyze everything that is going on and make a well-considered decision, carefully read everything what is written there, particularly between the lines," Kolobkov said. "We understand it all, nothing happens without a reason. We are getting ready, we have serious lawyers," the Russian sports minister pointed out.

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