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Duma sees no point in senator’s suggestion to sanction WADA officials over Olympic ban

The list of Russian athletes cleared for participation in the Games will be made public on January 28

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. A senior parliamentarian from the Russian State Duma in charge of sports issues said on Monday that he saw no point in imposing sanctions against functionaries from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) responsible for barring the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

"The Federation Council can do whatever it deems necessary," said the first deputy chairman of the Duma committee for physical culture, sports, tourism and youth affairs, Vyacheslav Fetisov, in comments on media reports saying senators were mulling sanctions.

In earlier reports, the Izvestia daily cited Andrei Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council’s committee for the protection of state sovereignty and prevention of interference in Russia’s internal affairs, as saying the senators were discussing possible sanctions against these functionaries.

"I don’t know what sanctions against WADA officials will give, what is the point in this? We must talk to Andrei Klimov. Let us suppose we will ban officials from entering Russia, or from something else, there is no time for changing the situation (on Russia’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games)," he told TASS.

"PyoeogChang is not an end of the world, the Olympic movement will continue to exist," he said, stressing that the main task was "to build a dialogue with WADA".

Duma committee’s member Dmitry Svishchyov did not back the senators’ initiative either. "I am categorically against. What sanctions? What do we seek to achieve? We must first of all engage in solving the problems we have. The main task for today is to build relations," he said.

"If we impose sanctions, we will never get any opportunities for restoring our rights. We must establish a dialogue with WADA. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that after PyeongChang, IOC’s relations with the Russian Olympic Committee will be started from scratch. We hope very much, and expect that this is the way it will be," Svishchoyv stressed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee’s membership over multiple doping abuse allegations, thus banning the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang under the national flag. The IOC vowed however to observe the rights of clean athletes.

Those who match the proposed criteria may be invited to the 2018 Games as "Olympic athletes from Russia," under a flag with five colored rings. The use of Russia’s national symbols and the flag’s colors will be prohibited. The list of Russian athletes cleared for participation in the Games will be made public on January 28.

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