LAUSANNE: The decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russia from next month’s Rio de Janeiro Games has been welcomed by Olympics powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
Sheikh Ahmad is president of both the Association of National Olympic Committees and the Olympic Council of Asia as well being head of Olympic Solidarity.
He issued an approving statement shortly after the executive board of the International Olympic Committee decided individual sports should be responsible for deciding which Russian athletes could compete in Rio.
Sheikh Ahmad said: “ANOC fully supports the decision taken today by the IOC executive coard.
“The allegations [against Russia] made in the McLaren Report were shocking and directly threaten the integrity of sport but banning the entire Russian team would have unfairly punished many clean athletes.
“ANOC commends the IOC for favouring individual justice over collective responsibility and giving international federations responsibility to ensure clean competitions in their sports at Rio 2016.
“ANOC will continue to work under the leadership of the IOC to support all its NOCs and their athletes.”
Sheikh Ahmad is also a member of the governing council of world football federation FIFA which will stage its 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Also happy with the IOC decision was Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees, who had opposed the concept of a blanket ban ahead of the executive board meeting.
Hickey said the EOC “completely supports today’s decision to enable the participation of clean Russian athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
He added: “The Russian Olympic Committee is a valued member of the EOC. The EOC was pleased to note that the McLaren report did not implicate the ROC as an institution, and this was clearly a key consideration in today’s IOC executive board decision.”
However Hickey cautioned: “Today’s decision is not the end of the affair. There is still much work to be done. The ROC’s commitment to ensuring Russia fields teams of clean athletes now and in the future is welcome. The EOC stands ready to provide the ROC with every assistance in this regard, with EOC members already at the forefront of the fight for clean sport.”