Former World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey says it should be a “clear-cut” decision: Russia should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Fahey told The Associated Press on Thursday that Russia should “definitely not be going” to Rio and said the integrity of the 2016 Olympics and future games is in jeopardy.
“This is widespread corruption, not individual, not a group, not one sport,” Fahey said during a telephone interview. “It’s a conspiracy of the state through the ministry of sport, the anti-doping organization and their security service and the previously accredited Moscow lab.
“They have all conspired to bring this about. The only way you can support the clean athletes who will be competing is to make it known that widespread cheating will not be tolerated.”
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board will meet via teleconference Sunday to consider whether Russia, host of the Winter Games at Sochi in 2014, will compete at the Summer Games next month.
The IOC is examining the legal options of a blanket ban following a report by WADA investigator Richard McLaren that accused Russia’s sports ministry of overseeing doping of athletes.
McLaren’s report uncovered a state-run doping scheme that implicated 28 sports, both summer and winter, and ran from 2011 to 2015. The investigation told of 312 positive tests that Russia’s deputy minister of sport directed lab workers not to report to WADA. Russia’s intelligence serve was also involved, the report said.
It also provided further details of the swapping of samples to protect Russian dopers, including medalists, at the Sochi Games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will issue a verdict Thursday on Russia’s appeal to overturn an IAAF ban on its track and field athletes for the games in Rio. The IOC will take that ruling into account before making its own decision.
Fahey said he wasn’t in a position to comment on the pending CAS decision, saying he hadn’t read enough of the background on the case.
“But really, it never should have gotten that far based on what Russia has been accused of the past two years,” Fahey said.
Tatiana Grigorieva, a Russian-born pole vaulter who won Olympic silver for Australia at the Sydney Games in 2000, told Fox Sports Australia she agreed Russia should be banned, adding “it’s obvious by now that the system is rotten.”
“The fact that the new findings are saying that (Russia’s) secret service are involved in this, it scares me,” she said. “It goes a lot deeper than just sport or the Olympic Committee.”
Fahey says the public’s perception of the Olympic movement is at stake if Russia is not prevented from sending a team to Rio.
“The McLaren report makes it abundantly clear that if they want to safeguard the integrity of the Olympic Games, they need to ban Russia,” Fahey said. “To have Russia there will put into jeopardy the world’s view of the Olympics.”