WADA Athlete Committee echo call for Russia Rio ban


The World Anti-Doping Agency's athlete committee has supported the body's call for Russian competitors to be banned from the Rio Olympics, in the wake of a damning investigation that found evidence of a state-dictated cover-up.

WADA appointed Professor Richard McLaren to lead an independent investigation into allegations of Russian state manipulation of the doping control process, following comments from Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow.

On Monday, McLaren presented his report, which found Russia had a system in place - "directed and controlled" by the country's Ministry of Sport - to cover up positive tests in a wide range of sports.

WADA responded by recommending that Russia, whose track and field athletes are already the subject of a suspension from international competition, are banned from the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics in Rio.

That view was echoed by WADA's athlete committee in a subsequent statement.

It read: "The findings of the McLaren Report are truly shocking. We as a committee are deeply upset to read of the unprecedented levels of doping and subversion that have taken place in Russia.

"This is an investigation that clean athletes and our committee have been publicly calling for since last year. Although we have known of the allegations, to read the report today, to see the weight of the evidence, and to see the scale of doping and deception is astounding.

"We fully support the recommendations put forward today by WADA to the international sporting community, and sincerely hope that technicalities are not used to circumvent these appropriate sanctions.

"We would like to highlight our belief that WADA must allow Professor McLaren and his team to continue their investigation, that Russia should be banned from the Rio Olympics, Paralympics, and other international events, and that international federations must enact sanctions so as to protect clean sport.

"All athletes have a right to clean sport and a right to compete clean. Now is the time for sporting organisations to stand up against doping and affirm in the most robust ways possible their commitment to protecting clean athletes and zero tolerance. This can only be achieved through the collective sanctioning (of athletes, officials and organisations) that has been recommended.

"The WADA athlete committee stands with all the clean athletes of the world, and especially at this time with those clean athletes that have suffered as a result of the doping and subversion outlined in this report."

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to convene on Tuesday to discuss the matter, with president Thomas Bach having said the organisation "will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated".