Russia must wait to learn if it can send a team to next month's Olympics after calls for it to be barred from the Rio Games for operating a four-year, state-sponsored doping programme. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it will "explore the legal options" before deciding whether to implement "a collective ban" on all Russian competitors for the global showpiece, which starts on 5 August. In the meantime, the IOC says it plans to re-test all Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This follows the findings of the McLaren report, which found urine samples of Russian competitors were manipulated across the "vast majority" of summer and winter Olympic sports from late 2011 to August 2015. Calls for a blanket ban on Russia - from both the Olympics and Paralympics - followed the report's publication on Monday.

 

 

IOC president Thomas Bach said the findings were a "shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games". World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) president Sir Craig Reedie said his organisation wanted the IOC to "decline entries, for Rio 2016, of all athletes" submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees. Commissioned by Wada, it looked into claims made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory. He alleged he doped dozens of athletes, including at least 15 medallists, in the build-up to the Sochi Games. He said this was the result of an elaborate plot with the Russian government, which exploited its host status to subvert the drug-testing programme. Rodchenkov, now in hiding in the United States, also alleged he doped athletes before the 2012 Olympics in London, the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and the 2015 World Swimming Championships in Kazan. It has already suspended a number of senior sports officials following the publication of the McLaren report.

 

 

Sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the R-Sport news agency he had suspended anti-doping advisor Natalia Zhelanova as well as Irina Rodionova, deputy head of Russia's state-funded Sports Preparation Centre, and two other officials. McLaren said Zhelanova and Rodionova had worked closely with Russian deputy sports minister Yury Nagornykh to cover up positive tests since 2011. Russia's track and field athletes are already barred from competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as a result of doping violations. The International Association of Athletics Federations, the body that governs world athletics, voted in June to maintain a global competition ban on the All-Russia Athletic Federation (Araf). Araf hopes to overturn the suspension and will find out by Thursday if its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been successful. 

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