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Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics For Doping

Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics For Doping

The International Olympic Committee has today announced that the Russian Olympic Committee has been banned from sending a team to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Those games are set to take place from 9 to 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, but a 14-person International Olympic Committee panel has confirmed Russia will not be allowed to compete at those games because of violated anti-doping rules.

The announcement means no athletes will be allowed to represent Russia at the games and the Russian flag will not be displayed. If Russian athletes want to compete, they will have to do so as neutrals and under the Olympic flag.

The IOC had been considering a confidential IOC report that was undertaken into Russia's official doping program during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the subsequent cover-up. Viewers of the Netflix documentary 'Icarus' will be familiar with the massive state-sponsored doping program undertaken by Russia.

The head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, had this to say at today's press conference:

This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The IOC, after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA.

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The IOC commission chairman, Samuel Schmid, declared the doping was fully endorsed by the Russian government's sports ministry, which Vladimir Putin's deputy Vitaly Mutko was in charge of up until last year.

Mutko is now currently the 2018 Russia World Cup chief. He was also banned for life today from Olmpyic activity. It is unknown as of yet what FIFA will do in response to the news.

Russia can appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport while there has been some suggestion that Vladimir Putin will order Russian sports to boycott the games anyway.

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Maurice Brosnan

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