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IOC, WADA need reforms, says Russian upper house speaker

February 04, 17:24 updated at: February 04, 17:52 UTC+3

Commercialization of international sports movement runs counter to the Olympic spirit, Valentina Matviyenko noted

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The chairwoman of the Federation Council of Russia Valentina Matviyenko

The chairwoman of the Federation Council of Russia Valentina Matviyenko

© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house Valentina Matviyenko said on Sunday she shared the opinion of President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach on reforming the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Moreover, in her words, the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) need reforms as well.

"Of course, one can dwell on the necessity of reforms of the CAS, especially after its ruling was not to the IOC’s liking," she said, commenting on Bach’s statement on the necessity of reforming the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"But in this case, it is absolutely logical to think about reforming the WADA and the International Olympic Committee as well, because of their inability to act within democratic procedures," she stressed. "It is an obvious sign of degeneration of the original meaning of the Olympic movement, Olympic spirit at these international organizations."

She stressed that any democratic system implies the existence of an independent court system. "And naturally, if any structure wants to be reputed as democratic is must implement the rulings of independent courts undeviatingly," she noted.

The Russian upper house speaker voiced support to the CAS’ ruling on Russian athletes. "We don’t know these people at the Court of Arbitration for Sport but I think we must be thankful to them for their courage to rely on objective data and the principles of the Olympic movement in their award, despite the tough pressure," she said.

Apart from that, Matviyenko said she was concerned over the problem of commercialization of international Olympic movement and planned to raise that matter in contacts with parliamentarians from other countries.

"The most serious problem is that they [international organizations, such as the IOC and WADA, or the World Anti-Doping Agency] have commercialized international sport, the Olympic movement, turning them into, I would say, a kind of a business enterprise. They have put profits above athletes," she said. "Is it right? Maybe it’s time to consult the Olympic Charter?"

"I will discuss this matter, with no fail, with my colleagues, parliament speakers from other countries and at international parliamentary forums," she promised, adding that she hoped that "the principles of the Olympic movement laid down by Pierre de Coubertin are not dead and will get the upper hand in the long run."

Appearing at a news conference earlier on Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the CAS’ ruling to acquit 28 Russian athletes barred for life from Olympic Games over doping violations at the 2014 Games in Sochi demonstrated the necessity of reforms of this organization. He said the IOC was disappointed at the CAS ruling and worried over it.

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

Valentina Matviyenko added that commercialization of international sports movement runs counter to the Olympic spirit. "The most serious problem is that they [international organizations, such as the IOC and WADA, or the World Anti-Doping Agency] have commercialized international sport, the Olympic movement, turning them into, I would say, a kind of a business enterprise. They have put profits above athletes," she said. "Is it right? Maybe it’s time to consult the Olympic Charter? I will discuss this matter, with no fail, with my colleagues, parliament speakers from other countries and at international parliamentary forums.".

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