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IOC president denies political reasons behind decision to bar Russia from 2018 Games

December 06, 4:52 UTC+3 LAUSANNE

The IOC announced on Tuesday its decision to suspend membership of the Russian Olympic Committee

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IOC President Thomas Bach

IOC President Thomas Bach

© EPA-EFE/ERNESTO ARIAS

LAUSANNE /Switzerland/, December 6. /TASS/. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s decision to bar the Russian national team from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games was made without any political subtext, IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters on Tuesday.

The IOC announced on Tuesday its decision to suspend membership of the Russian Olympic Committee, effectively banning the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang. Doping-free athletes from Russia were permitted to compete in the status of neutral athletes.

"Political leaders in the world, as well as our sponsors and rights-holding broadcasters, they all have understood that the IOC is politically absolutely neutral and that we would now allow to be influenced by any kind of political considerations in such sporting matters. And this neutrality has been respected by everybody," Bach said.

The IOC president said Russian athletes have no reason to boycott the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. 

"First of all, an Olympic boycott has never achieved anything. Secondly, I don’t see any reason there for a boycott by Russian athletes, because we allow the clean Russian athletes to participate," he said

Earlier on Tuesday, Bach said IOC took "proportionate" measures against Russia allowing to protect the rights of athletes not involved in doping violations.

"The IOC EB [executive board], after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA," the IOC press service quoted Bach as saying.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang will take place on February 5-21, 2018.

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