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  • Russia PyeongChang Decision Set for December


    (ATR) The IOC will rule on the participation of Russian athletes at the PyeongChang Olympics on Dec. 5.

    (Getty Images)
    Both the Oswald and Schmid commissions investigating anti-doping violations and systematic manipulations at the Sochi 2014 Olympics will present to the IOC Executive Board this December. Dates for the Executive Board meeting were confirmed today by the IOC for Dec. 5-6.

    After the first day of meetings the IOC says it will announce its decision regarding the Russian team after hearing the results of both commissions. A press conference will be held after the decision is shared.

    Any decision taken by the IOC will come with just over two months until the 2018 Olympic Games. A similar situation came ahead of the Rio 2016 Games when the IOC placed the eligibility of the Russian teams in the hands of international sports federations. The federations had less than three months to sort out eligibility based on conditions set by the IOC.

    What the IOC will do regarding the Russian team has been the subject of intense speculation since the two commissions were set up in July 2016. A recent solution floated in media reports was the IOC is mulling Russia competing at PyeongChang 2018 under a neutral flag.

    The solution drew intense scrutiny from Russian authorities with Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov telling international media the scenario would not be accepted. The top hockey league in Russia, the Kontinental Hockey League, said it would not shut down for the 2018 Olympics under such a plan. The President of the KHL is Dmitry Chernyshenko, the head of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.

    If the KHL were to withdraw from the 2018 Olympics it would mean the top two international hockey leagues would not send athletes to the Games. North America's National Hockey League has already opted out.

    Earlier this week the World Anti-Doping Agency Foundation Board continued to uphold the non-compliance of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. RUSADA had been declared non-compliant by WADA in October 2015 over findings from an independent report saying the country operated a state-sponsored doping system for the Sochi 2014 Games.

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS that the decision was “expected,” but Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called it “bad news".

    “We do not agree with this decision, we consider it unfair,” Peskov said, quoted by TASS. “We have strongly rejected the accusations that the use of doping had some kind of government support. That’s out of the question."

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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