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  • Doping Scandal Impacts Russian European Games Bid


    (ATR) European Olympic Committee leaders are likely to delay announcing Russia as the preferred bid for the 2019 Games in the wake of the World Anti-Doping Agency report on state-sponsored doping.

    EOC president Patrick Hickey (ATR)
    EOC President Patrick Hickey will update delegates on the bidding process for the 2019 edition at the general assembly in Prague next week. Negotiations have been taking place for some months to co-host the Games in Kazan and Sochi, sources have told Around the Rings.

    ATR is told that the negotiations are expected to be suspended as the Ministry of Sport deals with the devastating WADA report released on Monday. The report by an independent commission led by Richard Pound revealed a “systemic” doping culture and claimed inaction against Russian athletes had “sabotaged” the London Olympics.

    From sources in Lausanne, ATR is told that a rift between Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko and ROC president Alexander Zhukov has helped stymie talks on Russia hosting the second edition of the European Games. Baku, Azerbaijan hosted the inaugural games in June.

    Kazan, Russia hosted the 2015 FINA world championships. (ATR)
    The EOC seems set to postpone a decision on the 2019 European Games until later this year at the earliest.

    EOC chiefs will not want to rush into any decision after the Dutch bid for the 2019 European Games fell through in June due to lack of government support.

    They will be seeking evidence that Russia is moving towards reforms of its athletics body and doping system suggested in the WADA report.

    IOC president Thomas Bach’s comments Wednesday provided some early encouragement that Russia will implement the necessary changes. Bach said he expected Russia to become WADA code compliant to allow its athletes to participate at the Rio Olympics.

    Kazan’s hosting of the IAAF World Junior Championships next year is also expected to be in peril if the IAAF suspends the Russian federation.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

    Homepage photo: Fireworks at the closing ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku (Getty Images)

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