IOC President criticizes calls to ban Russia from 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

IOC President criticizes calls to ban Russia from 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach has condemned calls for the disqualification of Russia from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Speaking at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly on Thursday, Bach said everybody had the right to a “fair and due procedure,” referring to the ongoing Oswald Commission into the country’s alleged state-sponsored doping.

“It was very clear, the Olympic Movement considers it unacceptable that some sanctions are being demanded in the public domain,” Bach said, insidethegames reported.

“Everybody enjoys the same rights and obligations. Everybody enjoys the rights to a fair and due procedure. Think how you would react if you were alleged to have wrongdoings, it is a human right,” he added.

The Schmid and Oswald Commissions, which are tasked with examining evidence of sample tampering at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, are expected to finish their investigation later this month ahead of the IOC Executive Board meeting. The meeting is set for December 5, when Russia’s participation at the Pyeongchang Games will be decided.

On Wednesday, the IOC handed life bans to two Russian skiers, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov, on the basis of the evidence provided by the Oswald Commission.

The committee thereby banned the athletes from participating in any future Olympics, though it did not specify the kind of doping violation they committed.

The Olympic governing body also annulled the results that were recorded by the skiers at their home Winter Games in Sochi, where Legkov won gold in the men’s 50km race and added a silver in the men’s 4x10km relay, while Belov was not among the medalists.

READ MORE: IOC decision over Russian skiers is ‘bewildering & worrying’ – Russian Deputy PM Mutko

Lawyer Christof Wischemann, defending the Russian skiers, called the IOC’s verdict a “politicized decision,” adding that they are planning to submit an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overrule the sanctions.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also the former minister of sport, called the IOC’s decision “bewildering and worrying,” adding that “it will be right and the most natural decision to submit an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.