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IPC chief Craven says meeting with Russia’s Paralympic officials was ‘encouraging’

MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) views its Friday meeting in Germany’s Bonn with the Russian Paralympic officials and lawmakers as a positive step in the direction of the Russian membership’s reinstatement with the global body, according to the IPC president.

"It was an encouraging meeting and certainly a step in the right direction…," a statement from the IPC quoted President Philip Craven as saying.

"In addition to discussing the reinstatement criteria, there was a lot of discussion regarding the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and the ongoing qualification process," the IPC president stated. "We reiterated that under the IPC’s rules, individual athletes cannot compete whilst their National Paralympic Committee is suspended."

"However, should the RPC meet the reinstatement criteria in full before PyeongChang 2018 then the IPC Governing Board will lift its suspension immediately. In doing so it may then be possible for the RPC to enter athletes into qualification events or alternatively apply to the IPC for either bipartite or returned slots from National Paralympic Committees in order for eligible athletes to compete at the Games," Sir Philip Craven said.

The IPC announced in its statement on February 13 that it had reached certain progress with the RPC on the national organization’s membership reinstatement in the global body.

However, the IPC added that the Russian Paralympic body needed to work further on implementing its reinstatement criteria, while the currently imposed suspension would remain in force for an indefinite period.

On August 7, 2016, the IPC decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 23 upheld the IPC ruling that came on the heels of a report delivered in July by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.

The McLaren-led commission claimed in particular that a total of 35 doping samples were concealed by Russian Paralympic sports between 2012 and 2015.

Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend its RPC membership in the international organization. The Russian Paralympic team is now facing the possibility of being banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

On November 21, the IPC made public a list of criteria Russia must meet to resume the RPC membership and be allowed to take part in international competitions. Officials from the two Paralympic organizations met in mid-December in Bonn to discuss these criteria.

On January 11, the Russian Paralympic Committee referred to the IPC in its edition of the roadmap for reviving its membership.