By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee said that Russian doping cover-ups confirmed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday showed a "shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and the Olympic Games", and that it would not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions.
An independent report commissioned by WADA confirmed extraordinary systematic abuse of the anti-doping process across many sports by Russian authorities before and during the Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014.
In a statement, IOC President Thomas Bach said the IOC "will now carefully study the complex and detailed allegations in particular with regard to the Russian Ministry of Sport".
"The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games," he said. "Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated."
The IOC Executive Board will hold a telephone conference on Tuesday to take its first decisions, which could include provisional measures and sanctions regarding the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month, the IOC said.
Last week, Bach indicated that a total ban on Russia competing in Rio was unlikely, saying: "It is obvious you cannot sanction a badminton player for an infringement of the rules by an official or a lab director at the Winter Games."
However, in the light of Monday's report, with a wide group of sports bodies now calling for a blanket ban, a broad sanction could now be on the cards.
Russia's track and field athletes are already banned, as are its weightlifters, subject to confirmation of positive dope tests from samples given in 2008 and 2012.
(Editing by Kevin Liffey)