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IOC boss Bach defends Russia ruling, says IOC can't be blamed

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - The Russian doping affair is no embarrassment for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which did the right thing not to impose a blanket ban on the nation‘s athletes for the Rio Games, IOC president Thomas Bach said on Sunday.

Bach told a news conference the IOC was not responsible for the timing of a report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren on allegations of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russia, nor for the fact that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not investigate early reports alleging doping in Russia.

The IOC faces a race against time to check the eligibility of Russians cleared by their sports federations for the Rio Olympics which open on Friday.

"The IOC can not be made responsible for the timing and reasons," Bach said. "It won‘t be damaging in the end. People realize we had to take a decision now."

Bach said that further measures are to be taken after Rio and once McLaren has finalized his report. The president also said he has not been in contact with Russian officials and politicians lately.

Referring to the controversial exclusion of whistleblower Yulia Stepanova from the Games, Bach admitted to "a difficult decision" and that while the IOC "appreciates the contribution of Stepanova" it must also "respect the Olympic Charter."

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