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Russia to miss 2018 Paralympics if criteria not met by September – IPC chief (VIDEO)

Russia faces missing the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games if the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) does not meet the reinstatement criteria within four months, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has said.

Although the IPC noted that it is pleased with the RPC’s progress made toward meeting its reinstatement obligations, it is not ready to lift the ban imposed last August.

“With 291 days to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, there is not a moment to waste. The IPC Taskforce will next update the IPC Governing Board in September and if the obligations have not been fully met by then, it will be very difficult for the RPC to have its suspension lifted in time to enter its athletes into the Paralympic Winter Games,” Craven said at a press conference in London on Monday.

Speaking exclusively to RT later that day, Craven noted that the Russian governance body is fully cooperating with IPC.

“Some good progress has been made,” he said. “A good atmosphere in the meetings, of cooperation.”

“A road map has been established by the Russian Paralympic Committee in conjunction with the Taskforce,” he added. “And therefore, there are certain items on that roadmap have already been concluded. But now we need to see what steps have been taken, what concrete actions been taken by Russia to ensure to the Paralympic world and the wider sporting world, that this situation will not happen again.”

Answering the question regarding the clean athletes falling victims to the blanket ban, he admitted that the IPC is aware of the issue, but won't change its opinion until it sees “major changes."

“We think of all the para-athletes all over the world, and we are aware of the possibility that some Russian athletes may not be incriminated in this.

"But this was such a serious situation, and we had no other option but to take action that we did. And we have to maintain that relationship and that suspension until major change happens,” he said.

On August 7, 2016, following the publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-sanctioned report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren on alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia, the IPC announced that the committee had unanimously decided to prevent all Russian athletes from taking part in the Summer Paralympics and withdraw Russia’s membership of the IPC.

The RPC later attempted to appeal the decision to CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) on August 15, but it was rejected just over a week later.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the IPC decision “immoral” and “inhumane.”