IOC: No blanket ban for Russia in Rio

Despite the doping scandal the International Olympic Committee has decided not to exclude the entire Russian team from the Olympic Games in Rio. While the track and field athletes are completely banned the individual sport governing bodies will decide whether athletes from other disciplines can still compete. The Russian media are delighted.

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Nowaja Gaseta (RU) /

Moscow would have exploited blanket ban

It was a good decision not to ban the whole Russian Olympic team, argues Vladimir Mozgovoy in the Russian Nowaya Gaseta:

“Only the most bigoted or narrow minded could think that banning Russian athlethes from the Olympic movement and the global sport system could make the powers in Russia change their politics. Russia's leadership is clever enough to turn any punishment involving isolation to its own advantage. Thank god those involved in the historic meeting in Lausanne have shown - if not wisdom - then at least common sense. They have understood that a blanket ban on Russian athletes would not have punished those who deserved to be punished.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

The IOC has avoided action on doping for years

The IOC should have taken action long ago, La Libre Belgique chastises:

“The sports associations have now been called upon to make decisions on a case by case basis. And they have to do this within a limited time frame. Furthermore Russian athletes who were banned in the past but who have served their sentences are not being allowed to compete in the games even though the same does not apply for athletes from other countries in the same situation. This is all very difficult to accept. But the real scandal is that although everyone has known for years about the scale and gravity of the situation, it has been allowed to get worse. Because there is still a large risk that institutionalised doping will survive the Rio games. In Russia as in other countries.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Outright ban would be justified

Eesti Päevaleht can't understand the IOC's decision not to apply a blanket ban on Russian athletes in Rio:

“The decision to Russia from the Olympics because of the doping problems is not as unprecedented as it seems at first. Russia is not the only country with athletes that are having to stay at home. In November the International Weightlifting Federation decided to ban the entire Bulgarian team from the Olympics, and now in addition to Russia the teams from Belarus and Kazakhstan are facing the same fate. It's a pity that clean top athletes like [Russian pole vaulter] Yelena Isinbayeva have to stay at home. But it's also a pity that Isinbayeva and many other Russians can't understand that they are above all the victims of their own state rather than an anti-Russian conspiracy.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Betrayal of Olympic principles

The IOC and its president Thomas Bach are tolerating state doping, censures De Volkskrant:

“ Bach is playing this cynical poker game to prevent the Russian doping scandal from dividing the IOC. Summer games without Russia could have led to boycotts like those in the 70s and 80s. The IOC also felt pressure from international sports associations, some of which have close ties with Russia. There will be a zero-tolerance policy towards Russia from now on, the IOC said firmly. But the opposite seems to be the case. So the pariahs of international sport will be able to march proudly behind the Russian flag in Rio. ... With all this impossible back-bending Bach has obviously failed to see that he has turned the IOC into a toothless tiger, capitulating to a global power. This IOC decision is an indirect betrayal of the Olympic principles of honest and clean sport. The games in Rio are tainted from the outset.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A cowardly solution

With its decision not to impose a blanket ban on all Russian athletes the International Olympic Committee has shown its weak side, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung comments:

“The IOC has missed the opportunity to shine as a strong institution that stays focussed on the big picture and cracks down on major violations against the integrity of Olympic sport. Instead the IOC executive resorted to a cowardly solution that merely delegates responsibility onto others. It is now the task of the international sports associations to name the (clean) Russian athletes who will be allowed to compete in Rio.”

The Independent (GB) /

Blanket ban would have been unfair and unwise

The IOC's decision should stop Russia from taking umbrage, The Independent comments in relief:

“The Olympics are about individual performance, and always have been, quite as much as or even more than national performance (however it might look from outside). To ban Russia risked traducing that ideal. ... After the IOC ruling, Russia will still have questions to ask (not all of them especially pleasing) and some of its athletes will still have reason to feel aggrieved. But there is now less chance, thank goodness, that Russia will stomp off in a huff and ask whether it is really worth trying to comply with international standards if there is one rule for its athletes and another for everyone else.”