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Olympic Summit considers unacceptable punishing Russian athletes before probes complete

Olympic Summit also supports IOC in considering in December Russian athletes’ participation in 2018 Olympics

MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Olympic Summit, convened by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has considered unacceptable the demands to punish Russian athletes until the investigation is complete, IOC press service said on Saturday.

The Olympic Summit was held in Lausanne on Saturday, bringing together leading representatives of the Olympic movement.

"The Olympic Summit expressed its strong concerns and considered it unacceptable that specific sanctions are already being demanded in the public domain before the two Commissions have even completed their work and due process, to which any individual and organization is entitled, has been followed," the Olympic Summit’s communique said.

Olympic Summit also has supported the intention of IOC to take a decision in December about the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, the IOC said on Saturday.

"The Summit supported the intention of the IOC Executive Board (EB) to take a decision with regard to the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in December," the Olympic Summit’s communique says.

The next Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018 and Russia’s participation in the event is still under a question.

In July 2016, the IOC set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as 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 is an Inquiry Commission, chaired by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The commission is looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleges 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 second investigative body at the issue is a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission is tasked to address alleged doping uses and manipulation of samples concerning the Russian athletes, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

Beginning last year, Russian athletes were constantly under the gun due to numerous doping abuse accusations. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, conducted an investigation into doping allegations in Russian sports and eventually came up in 2016 with two parts to the report, the first delivered in July and the second in early December.

Calls on Russian athletes’ suspension

In recent weeks, foreign sport officials have aroused a wave of criticism over the timeframe of the IOC commissions’ investigation, urging them to take decisions against Russian athletes as soon as possible.

Canada’s Olympic Committee (COC) President Tricia Smith said, "We acknowledge and applaud the work that is being done by the IOC with the two commissions led by Samuel Schmid and Denis Oswald to investigate this matter." However, if the commissions’ conclusions are not published in a short span of time, "we ask that provisionary measures be taken, including suspensions, to safeguard the integrity of the Olympic Winter Games," she emphasized.

US Ski and Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw called to ban Russia from the upcoming 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang but added "let their athletes compete [under a neutral flag] if they are clean and they can prove it."

The head of the British Olympic Association, Bill Sweeney, said, "We want meaningful sanctions and for it to be decided as soon as possible - i.e. before Christmas." In addition, Vice President for Sport of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Max Cobb and United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun urged the commissions to announce their conclusions as soon as possible.

Moreover, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) said that in the run-up to the PyeongChang Olympics the situation resembling the one ahead of the Rio Olympics would become an unfavorable start and called to avoid irritating uncertainty that had emerged before the 2016 Olympic Games.

In the meantime, the Olympic Committees of the Czech Republic, Sweden and Japan refrained from any comment, while the Olympic Committees of Austria, Belarus, Norway, France and Ukraine have not yet commented on the situation to foreign journalists.

The Olympic Committees of Australia, Italy and Switzerland urged the IOC to take the speediest decision on Russia’s participation, but say fully rely on the IOC in the issue.