A new report expected to call for an outright ban on Russia from competing at next month’s Rio Olympics has already been slammed by Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), who has questioned both its “integrity” and “credibility” just prior to publication.Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board, has also admitted to being “shocked” that both the US and Canadian anti-doping agencies are backing this outright ban on Russia, asking “what mandate they have to lead an international call for a ban of another nation in the Olympic family.” The exact content of the report by Canadian lawyer Richard Mc Laren will only be made public at a press conference in Toronto tomorrow (Monday) morning: the latest in a series of independent investigations set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), it deals specifically with allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the clandestine operations of Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.
According to the letter, signed by Usada chief executive Travis Tygart, amongst others, “we write on behalf of a community of clean athletes and anti-doping organizations with faith that the IOC can lead the way forward by upholding the principles of Olympism” and that “the only appropriate, and permissible, course of action in these unprecedented circumstances is for the IOC to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from the Olympic Movement....
and declare that no athlete can represent Russia at the Rio Olympic Games”.
Hickey himself then came across this letter attached to an email sent to a number of athletes and anti-doping organisations by Beckie Scott, chair of the Wada Athletes Commission, asking for them to counter-sign it, before it’s forwarded to IOC president Thomas Bach.
“This letter calls upon the IOC to instigate a wholesale ban of the Russian Olympic Committee team in Rio 2016,” says Hickey, who is also serving as the President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
“This unprecedented call for such a ban is based on what the US and Canadian National Anti-doping Agencies say are the findings of the independent Mc Laren Report.
“The email from Beckie Scott and the attached letter has shocked and concerned me on a number of levels.
“Firstly, the Mc Laren report is meant to be a totally independent report that must remain totally confidential until its publication (on Monday, July 18th, 2016 at in Canada).
It is clear from the email and letter that both the independence and the confidentiality of the report have been compromised.
“My concern is that there seems to have been an attempt to agree an outcome before any evidence has been presented.