An International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Taskforce led by British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkinson (headphoto) has said Russia’s ban from competition should continue because the country is turning a blind eye to claims of a doping cover-up.
Russia was suspended from all IPC-organised events, including the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-commissioned McLaren Report claimed they had manipulated the testing programme to hide doping failures by home athletes at events including the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.
But according to a report from the IPC Taskforce, which has been working with the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), officials have not “specifically addressed” Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren’s findings, either by accepting them or “properly rebutting” them.
The Taskforce has therefore unanimously recommended the suspension stays in place, with the report expressing its concern at Russia’s lack of decisive action before the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics.
“The IPC Taskforce considers that Professor McLaren’s findings must be specifically addressed, whether by acknowledging the findings and tackling the problems, or by properly rebutting the findings,” Taskforce chairman Parkinson said in the report.
“In particular, unless and until the problems that led to the RPC’s suspension are fully understood and addressed, the IPC Taskforce is of the view that there can be no meaningful change in culture, and that Russian Para-athletes cannot return to IPC-sanctioned competitions without jeopardising the integrity of those competitions.”
Photo: IPC President Sir Philip Craven has recently confirmed Russia’s suspension will remain in place, despite being encouraged by the steps taken ©Getty Images
Parkinson did note “various positive developments” since the Taskforce begun its work, including the establishment of a “positive working relationship and dialogue” with the RPC.
Earlier this month, RPC secretary general Andrei Strokin claimed a final decision might not be made on whether Russia will be allowed to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 until just a month before the Games begin.
Speaking to TASS, Strokin said a request could be made to the IPC for a bilateral invitation in January next year.
From there, a decision would be made on February 1, 2018, on whether the invitations have been accepted, with the Opening Ceremony of Pyeongchang 2018 due to take place on March 9.
In November, the IPC gave the RPC a list of criteria they must meet if their membership is to be reinstated.
Last month, RPC bosses presented what they are doing in order to meet the criteria, but IPC President Sir Philip Craven confirmed the suspension will remain, despite being encouraged by the steps taken.
Last week, it was confirmed the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation will not be lifted until the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is declared compliant by WADA.
Source: TASS and insidethegames