IOC Investigations Into Russian Doping Questioned By Pound

Dick Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has questioned the intentions of two investigations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) into Russian doping amid another fierce attack on their "outrageous" decisions in the last few months.


Pound previously expressed doubts that the IOC-led Olympic Summit in Lausanne will not be able to address problems linked to anti-doping. Pound now claims the IOC have "dug themselves into a hole" by not imposing a blanket ban on Russia from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last month following allegations of state-sponsored doping.

The senior IOC member and former vice-president who chaired last year's WADA Independent Commission into Russian doping in athletics criticized the IOC refusal to fully ban Russians from Rio 2016. Pound remarked it was wrong of the IOC to hand responsibility to International Federations to make decisions about their specific sport. The former WADA President said the IOC made a decision too quickly and also commented that they should have suspended Russia and said individuals can compete under the IOC flag if they can prove they are clean.

The founding World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President also criticized decision of the IOC not to allow whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova from appearing at Rio 2016 due to her supposedly not satisfying "ethical requirements". Pound said it was outrageous and was done more to discourage whistleblowers from coming forward than anything else he can imagine.

Yuliya served a doping ban of two years before she came forward. However, her presence at Rio 2016 had been billed as a key way to reward whistleblowers and encourage others to come forward.

A second WADA-commissioned investigation spearheaded by Richard McLaren is still continuing ahead of full details expected before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the IOC has decided to undertake two investigations of their own that could draw different conclusions to those of McLaren. One investigation is being led by French judge and IOC Ethics Commission vice-chair Guy Canivet and the other by Swiss IOC member Denis Oswald.

Oswald will focus on the claims that samples submitted by home athletes during the Games were illegally replaced with fake ones. Canivet, on the other hand, will focus on the allegations of Government involvement in Russian doping during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Canivet and Oswald have vowed to work with McLaren as well as with a Russian inquiry headed by IOC honorary member Vitaly Smirnov, a former Sports Minister in the Soviet Union. Both are planning to take "all appropriate measures and sanctions" according to the findings of these Commissions and not on the findings of McLaren.

The IOC, led by President Thomas Bach, has fiercely criticized WADA for not investigating Russian doping problems earlier. IOC Executive Board member Sergey Bubka went on to remark that the policies and governance of WADA "must be changed" in order to increase efficiency. In turn, Pound and others in WADA claimed the International Olympic Committee is seeking to shift the blame onto someone else in order to detract from their own wrongdoing.


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