MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The coaching staff of the Russian national ice hockey team, including Head Coach Oleg Znarok, has been invited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation’s (RIHF) press service told TASS on Tuesday.
"The whole staff of the Russian Olympic (ice hockey) team, including the coaching staff, doctors, administrative and technical personnel, has been invited to the Olympic Games," the RIHF press service reported.
The RIHF, however, added that five Russian ice hockey players from the extended Olympic roster did not receive the invitations from the IOC, required to travel to the 2018 Olympic Games.
"As of today, the IOC invitations were not received by the following candidates to the national team: Anton Belov, Alexei Bereglazov, Mikhail Naumenkov, Valery Nichushkin and Sergey Plotnikov," the press service stated.
"Considering the current hype in regard to our team’s participation in the upcoming Olympic Games, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation believes it is necessary to obtain explanations that the five players at the issue have not been suspended from participating in sports competitions."
"However, in line with the IOC regulations on requirements for Russian athletes’ participation in the 2018 Olympics, the (five) players currently have no invitations," according to the RIHF. "At the same time, the IOC stressed that the players at the issue are not guilty of violating anti-doping rules."
"In order to extend invitations to the Games, the IOC Commission had evaluated and took into consideration a variety of facts," the press service said. "The RIHF is currently requesting with the IOC information on the reasons to deny invitations to the players at the issue."
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) earlier provided the IOC with the list of Russian athletes, who intended to go to the Winter Games. After that the IOC Invitation Review Panel, chaired by ex-sports minister of France and the Chairperson of the ITA (International Testing Agency), Valerie Fourneyron, picked up from the list the names of athletes, whom the IOC would invite to the 2018 Olympic Games.
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole 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 might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.
The final composition of the Russian delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics was earlier set to be approved and announced before January 28 by a special IOC panel, chaired by Executive Board’s member Nicole Hoevertsz.
Following the announcement, official invitations were to be forwarded personally to Russian athletes, who were granted the right for competing under the neutral flag at the 2018 Games.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.