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3RD LEAD IOC defers decision on Olympics ban for Russian sport By Barry Whelan, dpa

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has deferred a decision on a possible ban on all Russian athletes for the Rio Games over doping while opening disciplinary proceedings against Russian sports ministry officials.

The IOC executive board said Tuesday after a telephone conference 17 days before the start of the Games it would wait for a ruling on Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the eligibility of 68 Russian athletes who have appealed to compete in Rio.

Their appeal results from a decision by the athletics ruling body IAAF to suspend Russia‘s track and field team from the Olympics.

The IOC board said it would carefully evaluate World Anti-Doping Agency WADA‘s independent person (IP) report on doping in Russia.

"It will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice," a statement said.

"In this respect, the IOC will have to take the CAS decision on 21 July 2016 concerning the IAAF rules into consideration, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Charter."

WADA had Monday requested the IOC to consider a complete sporting ban for Russia for Rio 2016 and beyond following Canadian law professor Richard McLaren‘s report on state-controlled doping.

WADA also said the IOC could consider allowing clean Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the August 5-21 Games.

The IOC at an Olympic summit on June 21 said that despite the ban by the IAAF, Russian track and field athletes could compete under their own flag at the Rio Games if they could prove they were clean.

In its decisions Tuesday, the IOC executive board has set up a disciplinary commission and started disciplinary action "related to the involvement of officials within the Russian Ministry of Sports and other persons mentioned in the report because of violations of the Olympic Charter and the World Anti-Doping Code."

In Moscow, Russia‘s sport minister Vitaly Mutko said several senior Russian sport officials including deputy sport minister Yury Nagornykh were suspended until an investigation into allegations by WADA is completed.

The Kremlin said Mutko himself was not suspended because he was not named as a direct perpetrator in the WADA report.

In other provisional measures by the IOC executive board:

- The IOC will not organize or give patronage to any sports event or meeting in Russia, including plans for the European Games 2019.

- Officials of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the IP report will not be accredited for the Rio Games.

- The IOC will initiate reanalysis, including forensic analysis, and a full inquiry into all Russian athletes who participated in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as well as their coaches, officials and support staff. A specific disciplinary commission has been set up to deal with this, and following its report the IOC executive board "will impose all the appropriate sanctions."

- All international Olympic Winter sports federations are asked to freeze their preparations for major events in Russia.

- The IOC asks all international federations for a full inquiry and in the event of breaches of the WADA code to impose sanctions against Russian national federations.

The provisional measures apply until December when they will then be reviewed.

The board said it supported measures announced at the June 21 Olympic summit to reverse the "presumption of innocence" of athletes from Russia with regard to doping.

"This means that the eligibility of each Russian athlete will have to be decided by his or her International Federation (IF) based on an individual analysis of his or her international anti-doping record," it said.

It asked WADA to extend the McLaren‘s mandate at WADA and to communicate the names of Russian athletes implicated in a method explained in his report whereby positive doping tests were entered as negative, and in the alleged manipulation of the doping tests performed by the Sochi laboratory.

This would allow the international federations and if appropriate the IOC "to take swift action." The IOC also asked WADA to convene an extraordinary world conference on doping in 2017.

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