BERLIN (Reuters) – A ban of Russia from the 2018 winter Olympics and possibly the 2020 Tokyo summer Games should be considered if there was state-run doping in the country, Germany’s Olympic Committee chief Alfons Hoermann said on Sunday.
Leaders of 19 anti-doping agencies also called for a blanket ban on Russia from all international sport with the second part of Richard McLaren’s report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) exposing the huge scale of state-sponsored, systematic doping and cover-ups in the country.
“There needs to a drastic correction of the course. Major sanctions are now needed, there is no doubt about that. There has to be a clear signal,” Hoermann told die Welt newspaper.
“Should it be confirmed that there was state doping in Russia and that the Russian Olympic Committee violated the IOC Charter then for me a complete ban of the entire Olympic team for Pyeongchang 2018 and possibly Tokyo 2020 should be an issue for the IOC.”
Russian track and field athletes were already prohibited from traveling to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year over the doping affair.
But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stopped short from banning the entire Russian Olympic team despite mounting calls to do so, in the end allowing close to 300 athletes, who were cleared by their international federations, to compete.
Russia’s athletics ban has continued into 2017 and may include the August world championships after a Task Force monitoring the nation’s anti-doping program refused last month to put any dates on a “road map” for a return.
Russia has already been stripped of the right to host next year’s bobsleigh world championships in Sochi in March and a speed skating event scheduled for Chelyabinsk in the same month by the governing bodies of the respective sports.
Hoermann said given the extent of doping, as highlighted in the two-part McLaren report, it was difficult to believe the Russian Olympic Committee or Russian President Vladimir Putin was not aware of it.
“That is almost impossible for a country like Russia, as I understand sports organisations,” Hoermann said.
The IOC has launched two investigations of its own into the affair while also re-testing the samples from the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics in Russia where the host nation is said to have tampered with drugs samples of its athletes.
More than 100 athletes have also tested positive in re-tests of samples from the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Games, most of them Russian.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)