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Senior Russian lawmaker calls for reshuffling national sports authorities

December 08, 2017, 15:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Members of the State Duma are currently debating a response to this week’s IOC Executive Board’s ruling to bar the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics

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© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Igor Lebedev, a State Duma (Russian lower house of parliament) deputy spokesman, on Friday urged a reshuffling of the country’s sports authorities following the recently stiffened penalties by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) against Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Games.

Members of the State Duma are currently debating a response to this week’s IOC Executive Board’s ruling to bar the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang as well as to suspend a number of Russian sports officials.

According to Lebedev, "sports officials obviously suffered a defeat as they dealt with the issue of doping scandals."

"We need a new strategy in relation to international sports organizations and we need to see new faces in the administration of Russian sports," Lebedev, who is also a member of the Russian Football Union’s (RFU) Executive Board, said.

An IOC commission, led by Samuel Schmid, established that Russia allegedly employed a system of manipulations with doping samples collected from national athletes.

Based on the commission’s findings, the IOC announced its decision on Tuesday night to suspend the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia could go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’

The IOC Executive Board also announced that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was to reimburse the costs incurred by the IOC for the probes and to contribute to the establishment of an Independent Testing Authority (ITA), which carries a price tag of $15 million.

The IOC announced in addition its decision to ban Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko and ex-Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh from attending all Olympic events in their official capacities, as well as to suspend the membership of the ROC and its President Alexander Zhukov. A number of additional sanctions against other Russian sports officials followed from the IOC as well.

In July 2016, the IOC set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as the 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 was an Inquiry Commission, chaired by former Swiss President Samuel Schmid. The commission was looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleged 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 accusations turned out to be unproven.

The second investigative body at the issue was a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission was tasked with addressing alleged doping use and tampering of Russian athletes’ samples, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

The Denis Oswald-led commission had carried out retests of Russian athletes’ doping samples collected at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and, as a result, had already cancelled the results of 25 athletes from their home Games.

The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

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