Russia says final decision on Olympic ban expected Sunday

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July 21, 2016
@Normal:International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach

MOSCOW, AP:

Russia's top Olympic official expects a final decision by Sunday on whether the entire Russian team will be banned from next month's games in Rio de Janeiro over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said its executive board will meet via teleconference on Sunday to consider the issue, but added that a final decision was expected "within the next seven days".

The IOC is examining the legal options of a blanket ban following a report by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigator Richard McLaren that accused Russia's sports ministry of overseeing doping of the country's Olympic athletes.

"The issue will be finally resolved by the end of this week, probably on Sunday," Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov said yesterday at a meeting of the ROC.

Zhukov said his committee did not discuss the McLaren report at its meeting, although he also did not rule out legal action if Russia is hit with a total ban from the games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will issue its verdict today on Russia's appeal to overturn the IAAF ban on its track and field athletes for the games. The IOC will take that ruling into account before making its own decision.

Zhukov said he was hopeful of winning the appeal, adding that Russia's plans for the Olympics assumed that the track and field team would be allowed to compete. Russia plans to send 387 athletes, including 68 in track and field, he said.

WADA and other anti-doping officials urged the IOC to consider the unprecedented step of excluding the entire Russian team from the Rio Games.

The IOC said 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".

The IOC also started disciplinary action against Russian sports ministry officials and others implicated in McLaren's report, and said they would be denied accreditation for the Rio Games. The list includes Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

The IOC can also let individual international federations decide to ban Russians in their own sports.

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