‘Campaign against Russia’: ROC may appeal to IOC over ‘WADA-backed’ US call for ban

© Geoff Burke
The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee has accused WADA of backing what looks like a “well-orchestrated biased campaign” headed by US and Canadian doping agencies to ban Russia from the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying Russia will appeal to the ethics commission over the issue.

READ MORE: Independence at stake: Will IOC cave to US & Canadian pressure on Russia doping scandal?

In two separate letters sent to the head of the International Olympic Committee’s president Thomas Bach and head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Craig Reedy, the head of Russia’s Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov said US and Canadian doping agencies backed by the head of the WADA’s athletes’ commission Becky Sсott are seemingly “attempting to create an international coalition of sportsman and organizations, supporting the banning of Russian athletes from the Olympics.”

Pointing out to the fact that the contents of the WADA’s report on doping in Sochi 2014 Olympics to be released on Monday were apparently made known to US and Canadian doping authorities before its publication, Zhukov cast doubt on the “integrity and independent character of the report.”

“The involvement of US and Canadian anti-doping agencies runs contrary to the principles of the Olympic Charter and undermines trust to McLaren’s [WADA] report before its disclosure,” he wrote.

Earlier, the European Olympic Committee president, Patrick Hickey, slammed the leaked calls by US and Canadian anti-doping agencies for a blanket ban on the Russian team at the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I have to question on what authority the USA and Canadian Anti-Doping agencies prepared their letter and what mandate they have to lead an international call for a ban of another nation in the Olympic family," Hickey said in a statement, adding that the reported action “shocked and concerned me on a number of levels.” 

Zhukov claims that Scott has been actively engaging in the campaign against Russia instead of delivering on her direct duties, that is protecting the right of clean athletes.

“It looks like she is full of determination to place the collective responsibility on all ‘clean’ Russian athletes and punish them for the actions which were committed by the very few”, Zhukov stated in a letter to Reedy, adding that Russia hopes WADA is aware that “such actions are contrary to the principles of the Olympic Charter.”

While Monday`s report commissioned by WADA and prepared by the Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, expected to touch upon the issues that are specifically relevant to Russia in the first place, Russia would not be able to express its viewpoint at WADA `s session, as its representatives were excluded from all the organization`s units, Zhukov pointed out.

“However, we are convinced, that in given circumstances Russia should be able to express its stance”, he said, adding that Russia calls on the agency “to follow all procedures in the course of the independent investigation.”

In a leaked letter to the IOC signed by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart and Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) CEO Paul Melia, the authors demand a blanket ban on all Russian athletes bidding to compete in the Rio Olympics, urging 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.”

The timing of the letter, which was reportedly to be sent after the WADA’s report was released, raised questions about its objectivity.

"The McLaren report is yet to be published, but for them [USADA] everything is already clear. This is surprising. May be it was Tygart who wrote the report himself?”  Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in the wake of the letter’s publication.

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