Russia forfeits right to host 2017 biathlon World Cup & World Championships

Russia forfeits right to host 2017 biathlon World Cup & World Championships
The Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) has informed the International Biathlon Union (IBU) that the Youth and Junior World Championships and the IBU World Cup, both originally scheduled to take place in Russia in 2017, are to be relocated.

The RBU informed the IBU on Thursday that the biathlon Youth and Junior World Championships 2017, originally assigned to Ostrov, and the 2017 BMW IBU World Cup 8, originally assigned to Tyumen, are to be given back to the IBU.

Their relocation is to be determined at a later date, the Union said in a statement.

The decision was made at an IBU Extraordinary Executive Board (EB) Meeting in Munich, Germany, called "to decide on further necessary steps" in response to the findings of the second part of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report authored by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren and published in London on December 9.

The report alleged doping test samples of 12 Russian medalists from the 2014 Sochi Olympics were tampered with. On December 15, the IBU announced it had received a list of 31 Russian biathletes who had been mentioned by the WADA Independent Commission with regards to doping allegations.

"Overall, the IBU received Executive Summaries on 31 athletes, one of them competed only on national level, and another one has already been suspended by the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) for the same sample as reported by McLaren," the IBU statement read.

The IBU also announced it would impose provisional suspensions upon two athletes, as a consequence of the opening of IOC Disciplinary Proceedings and open formal investigations against RBU and 29 athletes listed in the McLaren for cases not related to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

IBU President Anders Besseberg called the move by RBU "a first important step."

“This is a first important step by the Russian Biathlon Union to show to the IBU and to the world of sport that the current situation is taken very seriously. This will now allow the international biathlon family to focus on biathlon during these events," Besseberg said.

"Findings of the McLaren Report indicted severe problems in Russian sport and it`s Anti – Doping control system. IBU takes all available information very seriously; it is now on us to find out in detail the scale of the problem in Russian Biathlon.

"The fight against doping is not an easy one but one of our top priorities. It is important in order to ensure the future of our sport and maintain the trust of our teams, athletes, member federations, partners and fans.

"All athletes deserve that we avoid having any shadow on their performance and that they can compete without any doubts and can completely concentrate on their sport activities.

"Nevertheless suspicion is not enough to implement the sanctions and we will keep going down a professional pathway, considering all opinions, but not acting on suspicion only. Correctness of Rules has to work both ways – for the guilty and for the non – guilty.”

The Norwegian Biathlon Association earlier penned an open letter to the Union, in which it said that “clear and resolute action must be taken should we not lose face in front of our sponsors, media and Biathlon fans” in relation to the doping allegations made against Russia. 

The letter also urged the IBU Executive Board “to take care of the reputation of biathlon” and called for all active Russian biathletes listed in the McLaren Report to be “banned with immediate effect.”

It added that the Norwegian Team would consider boycotting future international competitions in Russia if appropriate action was not taken.