Russia facing Olympic ban after latest revelations
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is leading global calls for Russia to be banned from the Rio Olympics and Paralympics after a devastating report uncovered the extent of Russia's state-directed doping.
The WADA-funded report, prepared by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, has revealed the Russian Sports Ministry controlled a cynical scheme to cheat at numerous sporting events, including London 2012 and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
WADA's executive committee met immediately after McLaren's report was published and has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) "to consider, under their respective charters, to decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes" submitted by the Russian authorities.
WADA president Sir Craig Reedie reacted to McLaren's findings with horror, such is the scale and scope of a doping conspiracy that helped Russian athletes from more than 30 sports dope with impunity for years.
"As the international agency responsible for leading the collaborative, global, clean sport movement, WADA is calling on the sports movement to impose the strongest possible measures to protect clean sport for Rio 2016 and beyond," said Reedie, also an IOC vice-president.
IOC president Thomas Bach, previously reluctant to impose any collective punishments on Russia, said he wants to study McLaren's 103-page report carefully but he has already called for an urgent meeting of his executive board today.
"The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games," Bach added.
"Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated."
Sir Philip Craven, Bach's counterpart at the IPC, said: "We are truly shocked, appalled and deeply saddened at the extent of the state-sponsored doping programme implemented in Russia. The findings of the McLaren report mark a very dark day for sport."
Even before the report was published, several anti-doping agencies and athletes' groups had lined up to demand that Russia be banned from the Rio Games, pointing out that the executive boards of the IOC and IPC have the power to do so in their rulebooks.
With the Russian Olympic Committee already appealing against an earlier decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to maintain the ban on Russia's track and field team that has been in place since November, it is likely the IOC and IPC will wait until the Court of Arbitration for Sport has made its ruling later this week.
But any hopes the Russian authorities have of winning that appeal have surely disappeared in much the same way positive samples vanished at the anti-doping laboratories in Moscow and Sochi.