Tuesday - July 19th 2016

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) supports the position of dozens of its peers in calling for a ban on Russian participation at the Rio Games after damning allegations of state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes were confirmed.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has released the McLaren Report, an investigative document which proves that Russia was complicit in organising and allowing their elite athletes to dope and the subsequent cover up of positive doping tests.

The conclusions of the Report are so damning that in an unprecedented move WADA itself has called for “the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to consider, under their respective Charters, to decline entries, for Rio 2016, of all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee.”

DFSNZ chief executive Graeme Steel says the IOC and IPC must act decisively on the findings of the report.

“The McLaren Report confirms to the fullest extent the allegations that Russia has been operating a state-sponsored doping regime and has done so for many years. To find out that Russian athletes have systematically cheated and been supported by those accountable for ensuring they are competing clean is a massive betrayal,” he says.

“We support the international sporting community in calling for swift action against those responsible. The IOC and IPC must show their commitment to the integrity of sport by banning the whole Russian team from competing next month at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.”

New Zealand has long supported international calls for WADA to investigate serious allegations against nations who have failed to honestly implement the World Anti-Doping Code, but Mr Steel says there must also be consequences where serious wrongdoing is exposed.

The key outcomes of the McLaren Report are as follows:

1. The Moscow laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a State-dictated failsafe system, described in the Report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology.
2. The Sochi laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games.

3. The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes’ analytical results and sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the Federal Security Service (FSB); the Center of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia (CSP); and, both Moscow and Sochi laboratories.
“To ban Russia from the Rio Games would be an unprecedented step, but there is no appropriate alternative response to the conclusions in the report,” Mr Steel says.
“The international sporting community must put a stake in the ground and say enough is enough. Clean athletes from New Zealand and the rest of the world need to be reassured that those they compete against are subject to anti-doping programmes that have integrity. 

“Moreover where that is proven to not be the case the athletes who benefit from a doping programme must not be allowed to take advantage of that. We have no doubt that the IOC must respond decisively to the findings in the report. The future integrity of sport depends on it.”