KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Committee has slid into a position permitting political compromise over the latest recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency concerning the Russian doping saga.

WADA’s compliance review committee recommended, earlier this week, suspension of up to four years for Russian event hosts and athletes after uncovering the manipulation of Moscow laboratory test samples.

However the IOC, fearful of another Russian row heading towards the summer Games in Tokyo, has indicated it will take its own view – and that this could target specific individuals rather than the nation state.

An IOC statement said it condemned “in the strongest terms the actions of those responsible for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory data before it was transferred to WADA in January 2019.”

The statement added: “This flagrant manipulation is an attack on the credibility of sport itself and is an insult to the sporting movement worldwide. The IOC will support the toughest sanctions against all those responsible for this manipulation.

“The IOC once again requests that the Russian authorities deliver the raw data on which this case is based. This is still a matter of huge importance, since the delivery of any fully authenticated raw data will ensure that full justice can finally be done, and that the guilty can be properly punished and the innocent fully protected.

“In this way, the shadow of suspicion over the new generation of clean Russian athletes can be removed.

“We also note that the report finds that the sports movement has not been involved in any of this manipulation, and that the report does not indicate any wrongdoing by the sports movement in this regard, in particular the Russian Olympic Committee or its members.

“In this context, the IOC welcomes the opportunity offered by WADA to Russian athletes to compete, ‘where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance.’

“With regard to the sanctions following this manipulation, we will still have to evaluate these in detail. The IOC emphasises that any sanctions should follow the rules of natural justice and respect human rights.

“Therefore, the IOC stresses that the guilty should be punished in the toughest way possible because of the seriousness of this infringement and thus welcomes the sanctions for the Russian authorities responsible.

“We strongly urge WADA to . . . refer all these files to the Council of Europe and UNESCO, having regard to the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention and the UNESCO International Convention Against Doping in Sport.   At the end of this process, we hope that justice will finally prevail and that there will be full and proper sanctions.”

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov has already said that an appeal would be lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.