MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) has called on Friday for an end to groundless accusations against Russian athletes and political interference in the sports industry. The house adopted a relevant statement in the wake of the decision the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
On December 5, the IOC announced its decision to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee, banning the national team from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. The IOC accused Russia of systematic violations of anti-doping rules, particularly during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. At the same time, the IOC intends to respect the rights of clean athletes, allowing them to participate in the upcoming games as "Olympic Athletes of Russia."
"The State Duma calls for ending the practice of bringing groundless accusations against Russian athletes and political interference in the sports industry. Sports should be separated from politics," the statement reads.
The lawmakers said that it was "unacceptable to violate anti-doping rules" and pointed out that "the use of prohibited substances and methods by athletes hinders efforts to organize competitions based on the principle of fairness and also poses a threat to the life and health of athletes." The State Duma members agreed that "there is a need to independently test the samples collected from Russian athletes on a regular basis." At the same time, they stressed that Russia’s national Olympic Committee, together with the IOC, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and other international sports organizations, had taken a number of measures to counter the use of doping in the Russian sports industry, which helped correct the national anti-doping system’s flaws.
"The measures that have been taken and the efforts that have been made allowed us to create an effective system to counter the use of doping in the Russian sports industry. At the same time, State Duma members are determined to continue taking actions to improve the national legislation in order prevent the use of doping and also increase the level of anti-doping activities," the statement adds.
Citing the Olympic Charter, which condemns all forms of discrimination, State Duma members said they "believe that the decision made by the IOC Executive Board is unjustified as it violates the rights of Russian athletes and fails to reflect the actual situation concerning efforts to counter the use of doping in the Russian sports industry."
"The ban on representing their country violates athletes’ human and civil rights. It is humiliating for any athlete who is proud to represent his or her country," the statement stressed.
Besides, Olympic life bans that the IOC issued only to several Russian athletes are discriminatory, the Russian lawmakers pointed out.
They also said that in the previous two years, all the Russian athletes taking part in international competitions "have been constantly controlled by the World Anti-Doping Agency more strictly than athletes from other countries." "Moreover, ahead of the 2017-2018 winter season, the Russian Olympic Committee put forward an initiative that international sports federations conduct additional tests of samples taken from Russian athletes," State Duma members noted.
"Numerous tests have proved that Russian athletes do not use doping. Consequently, their victories at international competitions are not based on the use of banned drugs," the legislators said.