Olympics without Russian athletes

After the International Association of Athletics Federations banned Russian track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics because of doping, top IOC officials and the representatives of national associations are convening in Lausanne on Tuesday. It is expected that they will support the decision and perhaps even extend it to other sports. But does the ban punish the real culprits?

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Collective guilt is unfair

After the decision to disqualify the Russian track and field athletes from the Olympics in Rio, further Russian sport associations or even the entire Russian National Olympic Committee may now be banned from the games. That would be going too far, Lidové noviny warns:

“This is an unprecedented step: never before has an entire national team been subject to preventive collective punishment. Even those who have no illusions about the cleanness of Russian sport or its independence from the country's political leadership should bear this in mind. This must seem to Russia like a declaration of war. The Olympic ideal foresees everyone being allowed to participate. There is no mention in the Olympic Charter of the Olympic Summit having the decision-making authority. And finally there are the values the West claims to uphold, including the rejection of collective guilt.”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Equal treatment for all sport federations

Russia's athletes are being subjected to tougher criteria than those of other countries, the daily paper taz comments:

“The ban for the Russian athletes may be necessary but it will only be credible if other steps follow. In many countries, Kenya and Jamaica to name just two, the level of the anti-doping measures is pathetic. Athletes from dozens of states don't even seem to be on the investigators' radar, while others have the necessary know-how and chutzpah to get around the controls. If the people at the [International Association of Athletics Federations] IAAF and the [World Anti-Doping Agency] Wada let the world applaud them as the goodies weeding out the baddies in sport, then we should take a good look and make sure that they are using the same yardstick for other federations and nations.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

IOC must not show mercy

Even though the International Olympic Committees has the final say on who takes part in the Games it must not overturn the IAAF's decision, the Irish Examiner argues:

“It would be an absolute travesty of justice if Olympic officials were next week to give Russia and its athletes a special dispensation, thus allowing them to compete at the games in Rio. If that happens, and it might well, it would literally make a mockery of sport and what the Olympics are supposed to represent, as the ultimate sporting event. It would also send out the wrong kind of message to young people, concealing the cynicism of doping and telling a jaundiced world where clean athletes are revered, and rightly so, that it’s OK to cheat.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Kremlin should admit its guilt

De Volkskrant sees the ban as just punishment and sends an important message to the Kremlin:

“The fact that innocent athletes may also be affected is a consequence of the prevailing culture in Putin's Russia. The individual is subordinate to the interests of the state. On the basis of this precept the Russian authorities built up a huge apparatus to supply their athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and prevent them from being caught. After the exposure of the secret programme Moscow is complaining about an 'anti-Russian campaign'. In particular the refusal of the Russian authorities to admit their guilt is worrying. … Lifting the ban would send the wrong message. Particularly now that it has become clear that the Russian intelligence service the FSB was involved in the doping fraud and threatened the anti-doping agency Wada, it must be made clear to Moscow that state interference is inadmissible. The 'clean athletes' must bring lawsuits against the Kremlin.”