IOC chief Bach says federations could be banned over doping

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach wants a speedy investigation into allegations of systematic doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and says anyone involved in doping could receive a lifetime ban with federations also banned.

The IOC has ordered samples from the 2014 Sochi Games to be retested using the latest scientific methods.

The investigation was in the hands of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and they would be doing everything to ensure a swift result, Bach told a telephone conference Wednesday.

Bach said the IOC "will hold everybody responsible who is implicated" if the allegations are proven to be true. There would be lifetime bans for "any implicated person" including national federations.

Grigory Rodchenkov, former chief of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, had claimed in an interview with The New York Times that Moscow for years had ordered him to assist Russian athletes in evading bans on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In a statement on the IOC website, Bach said: "The recent allegations against the WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory in Sochi are very detailed and therefore very worrying.

"Since they concern the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has every interest in a full and speedy clearing up of the allegations."

If the allegations were proved it would be "a shocking new dimension in doping with an, until now, unprecedented level of criminality."

Bach added: "There can be no doubt ... that the IOC would react with its record of proven zero tolerance policy not only with regard to individual athletes, but to all their entourage within its reach.

"This action could range from life-long Olympic bans for any implicated person, to tough financial sanctions, to acceptance of suspension or exclusion of entire National Federations like the already existing one for the Russian Athletics Federation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)."

The IOC had announced Tuesday that 31 athletes had tested positive for doping in retesting of 2008 Beijing Games samples. Disciplinary proceedings against the unidentified athletes from 12 countries and six sports have been opened.

The samples had been stored at the IOC laboratory in Lausanne and retested using enhanced scientific methods. The IOC is further targeting potential cheats from the 2012 London Olympics as well as the Sochi Games.

Russia was suspended from international competition in November after a damning report on doping by the WADA.

But Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Wednesday that "the statement from the IOC shows that this is not a problem with Russia only."

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that US federal authorities were investigating allegations of state-led doping by top Russian athletes, on grounds of fraud and conspiracy.

The US investigation is reportedly being conducted by the office of the US attorney for New York's Eastern District, the same prosecutors who last year indicted top officials from football governing body FIFA on corruption charges.

Bach said he no knowledge of the reported US investigation. The Kremlin's spokesman said Russia was extremely sceptical of such an investigation.

Russia treats cases where US courts are operating beyond their jurisdiction "with a notable degree of incomprehension and rejection," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency TASS.

However, Russia is ready to assist international authorities in investigating individual allegations of doping, Peskov added.

Mutko also suggested that the US investigate its own athletes instead of Russian ones.

"There are enough violations of anti-doping rules around the world, and they can all be investigated. We would like to see the United States investigating its own national team," Mutko told state news agency TASS.

Last update: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 18:54

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