The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, over Russia’s state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
“This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system,” IOC president Thomas Bach (pictured) said.
The IOC has left the door open for Russian athletes to compete under the title of “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)”, however without their national flag or anthem being played should they win a medal.
They will also have to pass rigorous drug testing, and be able to demonstrate that they did not benefit from the doping program in Sochi.
“The decision has been widely condemned in Russia, with some politicians urging a boycott of the Games,” the BBC says.
“The IOC also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko for life from the Olympics for his role in the country’s doping program, and suspended Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member,” the ABC reports.
Zhukov has indicated that Russian athletes would appeal the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ROC was also handed an £11.2 million fine to cover the cost of the investigation and to assist in funding further anti-doping work.