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Olympics: IOC ‘very reluctant’ to ban Russia, Pound says

By AFP
20 Jul 2016 0

The International Olympic Committee is "very reluctant" to ban Russia from the Rio Games over its state-run doping programme, IOC member and former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound said Wednesday.

The Canadian sports official told BBC radio the IOC was right to study the legal consequences of such a historic decision.

“If you are going to do something as dramatic as suspend an entire team you want to make sure that you don’t trip over some legal hurdle that you haven’t thought of,” he said.

But Pound added: “I do get the impression reading between the lines, however, that the IOC is for some reason very reluctant to think about a total exclusion of the Russians.”

The IOC executive decided on Tuesday to put back a decision on whether to ban Russia from the Rio Games, which start August 5, until after a Court of Arbitration ruling Thursday on whether 68 Russian athletes can take part in the Games.

The IOC is caught in the biggest doping scandal in its history after an independent report commissioned by WADA said on Monday that Russia operated a “state-dictated failsafe system” of sports doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and 2013 world athletics championships in Moscow.

Pound said that an Olympic ban “would force Russia to acknowledge that the rest of the world is not prepared to play with them unless they change and then it would be for them to demonstrate in fact that they have changed.”

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