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Opinion: Putting it on a plate for the IOC

Following the CAS verdict on Russia's track and field ban for Rio, the IOC must follow up by excluding Russia completely, says DW's Stefan Nestler. Yet such a step should only be the beginning.


Following the CAS verdict on Russia’s track and field ban for Rio, the IOC must follow up by excluding Russia completely, says DW’s Stefan Nestler. Yet such a step should only be the beginning.
The ball is now with the International Olympic Committee and IOC President Thomas Bach. Admittedly, the Court of Arbitration for Sports has “only” rejected the appeals against the track and field ban facing most Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics. But the verdict carries broader significance as a signal. For the judges have ultimately approved the idea of collective punishment against Russia – rather than insisting on the individual analysis of all cases.

Almost all sports are affected

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) extended its ban against the Russian athletics federation, first imposed in November, to cover the Olympics in Rio. This was within the rules, as the CAS sees it.

Another thing has also been proven, at the very latest since Monday’s WADA-commissioned doping report conducted by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. Positive doping tests have been systematically manipulated in Russia – and not just in Russian track and field, but almost all sports – for years now. The government did not merely tolerate these practices, it implemented the processes of deception.

IOC boss Bach must now step up

If the IOC is really serious about its pledge for a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to doping, then it has no other option but to suspend the entire Russian team from the Games in Rio. Anything else would be a capitualtion in the face of power, a slap in the face of clean sports. Bach, as the most senior guardian of the Olympic ideal, must now show his face. Nothing more or less than the reputation of all sports is at stake. Should the IOC buckle now, that would equate to a confession that the Olympic ideal has been chucked on a local landfill once and for all.

Same rules must apply to all

But another thing is also clear: banning Russia from the Olympics could only be a first step. Other countries would have to face the same standards. What’s more, the anti-doping fight should no longer be dependent on the work of investigative journalists uncovering these scandals. World sports must provide WADA and the national anti-doping agencies with the staff, the money and the necessary political backup with which to effectively combat cheating in sports – no ifs, and no buts.

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Topics: IOC Olympics russia

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