An international anti-doping commission recommended on Monday that Russia’s Athletics Federation be banned from the sport over widespread doping offences – a move that could see the powerhouse Russian team excluded from next year’s Rio Olympics.
The commission, set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russian athletics. But it also identified what it called systemic failures in the global governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The international police body Interpol said it would coordinate a global investigation into suspected corruption and doping in athletics.
The commission said in its report that the London 2012 Olympics had been “sabotaged” by the widespread inaction of international and national anti-doping authorities.
“For 2016 our recommendation is that the Russian Federation be suspended, in fact one of our hopes is that they will volunteer that, so that they can take the remedial work in time to make sure that Russian athletes can compete under a new framework if you like,” Dick Pound, president of WADA, told a news conference in Geneva.
Russia finished second behind the United States in the medal table at the 2012 Olympics, with 17 medals, eight of them gold, and has long been one of the chief players in track and field.
Russia really is regressing to the old Soviet Union, which of course was world leaders in doping.