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KHL ready to ban players from competing in 2018 Olympics if Russia banned

On Wednesday, the IOC slapped with life bans two Russian cross-country skiers
The Kontinental Hockey League's logo  Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
The Kontinental Hockey League's logo
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, November 4. /TASS/. The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) considers a possibility of not allowing ice hockey players to perform at the 2018 Winter Olympics in case Russian national team is banned from the Games, KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Saturday quoted by KHL press service.

"[Russian President] Vladimir Putin at the recent meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club underscored that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is compelled either to force Russia to compete under a neutral flag or to ban it totally from the Olympics. Under each of these two scenarios, considerable damage will be inflicted on the Olympic movement," Chernyshenko said.

"Since the moment of its establishment and further on, the KHL complies with the rules of IIHL (International Ice Hockey Federation) and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and does not tolerate doping as the entire sports community," he added. "Nevertheless, we do not accept the situation when the IOC panders to informants and commissions and suspends athletes, not basing on solid facts proving doping abuse."

"Simultaneously, the IOC has failed to negotiate with the NHL (National Hockey League) the issue of its players’ participation in the Games. Moreover, the NHL is controlled by neither IIHL nor WADA. Therefore, there is an impression that the North Atlantic League’s appearance in the Olympic Games depends on their own wish, but not on success in the talks," Chernyshenko said.

"The KHL is ready to provide a relevant response. The IOC is dismantling the existing sports world order," he said.

On Wednesday, the IOC slapped with life bans two Russian cross-country skiers, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov, over doping abuse accusations and also ruled to annul their results from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Their doping probes revealed no presence of banned substances, the two athletes were disqualified since the bottles with their samples had scratches on the neck, according to IOC Member Denis Oswald, and it suggested that they were tampered with.

According to the IOC, the decisions regarding Russian skiers Legkov and Belov were made based on the first conclusions from the Oswald Commission hearings, which had been conducted in the context of the Sochi 2014 forensic and analytic doping investigations.

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.

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.