‘All roads lead to US & Canada in move to ban Russia from Rio Olympics'

© Maxim Shemetov
The US and Canada, the two predominant countries leading the doping inquest against Russian athletes, are not geopolitical allies of Russia, so that’s got to be borne in mind, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT.

The World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] report into Russia’s alleged state-sponsored doping during the 2014 Sochi Olympics has been delivered by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. The report concludes that Russian athletes' test samples were swapped and the process was controlled by the Ministry of Sport.

RT: Are you surprised by the conclusions of the report?

Neil Clark: I am not really surprised. I think we saw a hint of what was to come with the leaked letter that Reuters published at the weekend – the letter from the US and Canadian anti-doping agencies to the International Olympic Committee calling for all Russian participants at the Olympic Games in Rio to be banned, not just track and field athletes. So I think that was a kind of hint. But perhaps somebody else had seen this report, the US and the Canadian had seen this and they wanted to get a sort of early strike, if you like, and to use it as a part of propaganda war to get Russia banned totally from the Rio Olympics.

RT: What would be the repercussions should this evidence not be true?

NC: Well, I think, quite clearly this is a part of a plan to try and get Russia banned from the Olympic Games totally next month in Rio. And I think that it is interesting that we saw the headlines it looks very shocking: There was ‘state involvement’, the possible ‘involvement of the Ministry of Sport’ or ‘the FSB’. But if we actually read what this McLaren has actually said, he said that these things ‘could have happened; this is how they could have happened’. But have we got any hard proof and who were the actual witnesses to all of this? So, we got to be skeptical.

Having said that, of course, the allegations are serious. Doping, anybody who is found involved in doping, should be banned. Let’s make that quite clear. It is not a question of condoning that at all. But really the fact is that it is the US and Canada. Wherever we look at this situation, it is two countries that are on the forefront of this: US and Canada. All roads lead to the US and Canada. We have US and Canadian anti-doping agencies writing the letter to the IOC. You’ve got the woman that was Canadian on the anti-doping agency committee who was circulating that letter to other members. But not to members who might be sympathetic to Russia. We’ve got this report by Mr. McLaren who is Canadian… The US and Canada are not geopolitical allies of Russia, so that’s got to be borne in mind.

The guy behind it seems to be Travis Tygart, he is the chief executive officer of the American anti-doping agency – USADA. And he seems really to have the guns out for Russia. He wants the complete team eliminated. The athletics team is currently under suspension. So, as things stand today Russia will be not sending any athletes to Rio, well, with one exception: Daria Klishina. She is a long jumper who lives in the US and trains there. She will compete, although it is by no means certain whether she will compete for Russia or as an independent athlete. But the suspension applies to all other athletes from Russia. If it is extended to cover the entire team, that means that Russia will not be sending a delegation to Rio at all, which seems to me at least a total perversion of justice. - Ellis Cashmore, professor of sociology at Aston University, has been focusing on culture, media and sports

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.