Doping accusations: Olympic ban for Russia?

The New York Times reported last week on a state-run doping programme for Russian athletes who competed in the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, based on statements made by the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory. Commentators evoke a new form of warfare and call for Russia to be banned from the Summer Games in Rio this August.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Destroy the corrupt system

The fight against doping can only be successful if drastic penalties are imposed, Deutschlandfunk writes, and praises the whistleblowers:

“In providing valuable information, such people do much more to fight doping than the porous and manipulable system of blood and urine tests, regardless of whether the information they provide ultimately leads to the banning of an entire sporting nation. In the case of Russia this would be a drastic step and honest athletes would suffer. But merely banning individual dishonest athletes won't help destroy the corrupt system. The only answer is to ban Russia from the Summer Games in Rio.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Sport as a weapon of war

The spectre of the Soviet era is making a comeback, De Volkskrant warns in view of the doping revelations:

“Just as in Soviet times, under President Putin sport has become an affair of state, a weapon in the fight against the 'hostile' outside world. Athletes are losing their freedom as a result: they are reduced to the role of soldiers who must bring victory to their country, no matter how. … The Kremlin is saying these revelations are part of a systematic campaign, and many Russians believe this. … In particular since the start of the Ukraine crisis Putin has managed to create a war-like atmosphere in which any criticism of Russia and its policies is considered treason.”