Rio Olympics 2016: IOC will 'explore the legal options' for total Russian ban
After a scathing report, Olympic officials are punishing athletes and officials
After a conference call on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee has decided to "explore the legal options" for a potential ban on all Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The decision comes after Monday's release of an independent report that confirmed at least 312 positive tests across 28 Olympic sports that Russia's deputy minister of sport directed lab workers not to report.
In a statement, the IOC outlined its decision regarding Russia's Olympic status:
"With regard to the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the IOC will carefully evaluate the IP (Independent Person) Report. It will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice."
Disciplinary action is already being taken against officials within the Russian Ministry of Sports and others mentioned in the report. The committee has also put a hold on organizing or "giving patronage" to any sports events or meetings in Russia, including the 2019 European Games.
Russia is currently appealing the ban of its track and field team by the International Association for Athletics Federations. The IOC said it will take the results of the appeal, expected Thursday, into consideration when making its final decision on Russia's Olympic eligibility.
The committee has also asked independent investigator Richard McLaren to continue his investigation, which was abbreviated to present the IOC with results in a timely fashion.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has recommended a full ban of all Russian athletes from the Rio Games, but the final decision ultimately lies with the IOC.
"The IOC Executive Board notes with great concern the deficiencies revealed by the IP, Mr. Richard McLaren, in the fight against doping," the statement said.
The Rio Olympics will begin with the opening ceremony on Aug. 5.
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