Rutherford lashes out at 'spineless' IOC


Greg Rutherford has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of being "spineless" in a scathing attack after it opted against imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes at the Rio Olympic Games next month.

The IOC on Sunday revealed that it would not deny all Russian athletes the opportunity to compete in Brazil after calls for a total ban following the publication of a report by Professor Richard McLaren.

McLaren's report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), found that doped athletes representing Russia had been "directed [and] controlled" at state level.

The IAAF has banned track and field athletes from representing Russia in Brazil and Olympic long jump champion Rutherford thinks the IOC should have implemented a total ban rather than leave individual sports federations to decide whether Russian athletes can compete.

"I had a terrible feeling that arms would be twisted," the Brit told the Guardian.

"We know the pros and the cons of a blanket ban, we know the risks of 'collective justice', but we also know the risk of not punishing a culture of doping that comes from the very top. I would say that the latter is a much greater threat to sport."

He added: "We've certainly not been given a clear message of transparency and progress. I would have almost been happier if the decision had been a bullish refusal to act in any way. But no, what we have now is a messy, grey area that doesn't help anyone.

"This is a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides. It's a decision without the strength of conviction to sever friendships and take action, or indeed the confidence to recommend against any ban at all.

"The inconsistency is truly astonishing. Introducing a last-minute ban on Russian athletes who have served a doping ban whilst still allowing athletes from other countries with exactly the same record is like asking a starving man to say thank you for giving him a single grain of rice - it's in theory the right thing to do, but it doesn't help,

"If you're going to make that move, make it with some conviction and reapply it across the board, or don't make it at all.

"Don't pass the baton to individual federations whilst knowing full well that they have neither the time nor resources to implement any action before the Games begin."

Rutherford also spoke of his disappointment that other athletes have not spoken out.

"I have to say I am proud of my own sport and its new leadership, for the proactive and strong stance taken a few weeks ago," he added.

"Athletics set the right sentiment for a clean and believable sport. We're not there, we may never get there - I am still very unhappy that many convicted cheats continue to compete - but without a consequence for institutional-level actions how on earth do we expect to make any progress?

"I also feel a little surprised that more athletes are not more vocal about this, especially those with a powerful voice in Olympic sport.

"I do understand, however, it's 10 days before the Games, and I must admit I was tempted to join them in keeping quiet, to only focus on my own performance and maintain positivity, but I feel too passionate about this."