The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has opened suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia (NPC Russia) following the publication of the McLaren Report (18 July) and additional information it has since received from the report’s author.
After fully evaluating Richard McLaren’s “Independent Person Report”, together with additional data provided to the IPC by the report’s author, the IPC Governing Board (22 July) ratified a decision to open suspension proceedings against NPC Russia in light of its apparent inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations.
In particular, in light of the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport, at the very highest levels, NPC Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction. The IPC considers this vital to ensuring athletes are able to compete on a level playing field.
The suspension of NPC Russia will now be considered in accordance with the IPC Suspension Policy. That process will include, amongst other things, appropriate dialogue with NPC Russia in order to afford them due process and to allow them to present their case.
Following a request to Richard McLaren (18 July), the IPC has been provided with the names of the Para athletes associated with the 35 “disappearing positive samples” from the Moscow laboratory highlighted in the report. The IPC is also sending 19 samples from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games for immediate further analysis, after they were identified by Richard McLaren’s investigation team as having been potentially doctored as part of the sample swapping regime during the Games.
The IPC expects to announce its decision on whether or not it will suspend NPC Russia the week commencing . Should the NPC be suspended they will have 21 days to appeal the decision.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “The IPC would like to sincerely thank Richard McLaren for his report which was delivered against an incredibly tight timeline and for the swift turnaround of the additional information we requested from him . We fully support his request to continue and finalise his work.
“The report revealed an unimaginable scale of institutionalised doping in Russian sport that was orchestrated at the highest level. McLaren’s findings are of serious concern for everyone committed to clean and honest sport.
“The additional information we have been provided with by Richard McLaren includes the names of the Para athletes associated with the 35 “disappearing positive samples” from the Moscow laboratory highlighted in the report. We are also urgently following up on Mr. McLaren’s recommendation for 19 samples from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games to be sent for further analysis, having been identified as part of the sample swapping regime in place during the Games.
“With regard to NPC Russia, we have started proceedings to consider the suspension of their membership of the IPC. This decision was not taken lightly, but after fully evaluating the “Independent Person Report” and the additional information we have received, the IPC believes that the current environment in Russian sport – which stems from the highest levels – is such that NPC Russia appears unable to fulfil its IPC membership obligations in full.
“Before making a decision, NPC Russia will have an opportunity to present its case to the IPC.
“In addition, the IPC is continuing to explore a host of other measures and actions in order to take the strongest possible steps to protect the integrity of Paralympic sport.”