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Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

"Clean" Russian athletes may take part in the Games under a neutral flag

MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled to suspend the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and to bar the country’s national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the IOC press service announced on Tuesday.

"The IOC Executive Board today studied and discussed the findings of the Commission led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, addressing the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia," the statement from the IOC said.

"This report also addresses in particular the manipulation at the anti-doping laboratory at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 which targeted the Olympic Games directly," according to the IOC.

The world’s governing Olympic body announced that "the conclusions of the Schmid Report, on both factual and legal aspects, confirmed the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved."

Based on the findings, the IOC announced its decision to ban the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The committee ruled that "clean" Russian athletes will be allowed to take part in the upcoming Olympic Games under a neutral flag. Individual athletes can still receive a permission to take part as neutral athletes and compete under the Olympic flag if they have no previous penalties or disqualifications for doping and pass all pre-Games targeted doping tests.

The invitation list will be determined by a panel led by Valerie Fourneyron, the chair of the Independent Testing Authority (ITA). These invited athletes will participate, be it in individual or team competitions, under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)." They will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag. The Olympic Anthem will be played during any ceremony with their participation.

The panel will also determine an invitation list for support staff and officials.

No member of the leadership of the Russian Olympic Team at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 can be included on this list. Besides, no coach or medical doctor whose athlete has been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation can be invited.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko and ex-Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh has been banned for life from attending as officials all Olympic Games.

"After discussing and approving the Schmid Report, the IOC Executive Board took the following decision - to exclude the then Minister of Sport, Mr Vitaly Mutko, and his then Deputy Minister, Mr. Yury Nagornykh, from any participation in all future Olympic Games."

The IOC has also made a decision to provisionally suspend a membership of Alexander Zhukov, who is the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

"After discussing and approving the Schmid Report, the IOC Executive Board took the following decision - to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) with immediate effect," as well as "to suspend ROC President Alexander Zhukov as an IOC Member, given that his membership is linked to his position as ROC President."

The IOC also ruled "To withdraw Mr Dmitry Chernyshenko, the former CEO of the Organizing Committee Sochi 2014, from the Coordination Commission Beijing 2022."

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

In July 2016, the IOC set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as the alleged involvement of state officials in manipulations with performance enhancing drugs, particularly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.