Bach claims IOC right not to take 'nuclear option'


Thomas Bach is adamant the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the correct decision in not imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes at Rio 2016 and has called for a "full review" of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).

The IOC has come under severe criticism in some quarters for its perceived failure to take a strong stance following revelations of state-sponsored performance-enhancing drug use, which have tainted the results of Russian athletes at numerous events and competitions.

Rather than prevent all Russian competitors from attending this month's Games, it was left up to each international sport federation to make a decision, a controversial move that IOC president Bach has again insisted was correct.  

"Leaving aside that such a comparison is completely out of any proportion when it comes to the rules of sport, let us just for a moment consider the consequences of a 'nuclear option,'" Bach told the IOC general assembly in Rio. 

"The result is death and devastation. This is not what the Olympic Movement stands for. The cynical 'collateral damage' approach is not what the Olympic movement stands for.

"What is therefore not acceptable is the insinuation by some proponents of this 'nuclear option' that anyone who does not share their opinion is not fighting against doping."

The German, a former Olympic gold medal-winning fencer, sought to shift the spotlight on to WADA, which published the McLaren report into alleged Russian manipulation of doping control results just weeks before the Rio Games.

"It is not the IOC that is responsible for the accreditation and supervision of anti-doping laboratories," he said. 

"The IOC has no authority to declare any organization non-compliant with the WADA code. The IOC has no authority over the testing program of athletes outside the Olympic Games. 

"The IOC has no authority to follow up on information about the failings of the testing system."

Bach added: "Recent developments have shown that we need a full review of the WADA anti-doping system.

"The IOC is calling for a more robust and efficient anti-doping system.

"This requires clear responsibilities, more transparency, more independence and better worldwide harmonisation."