Australia’s response to IOC Russia decision

Australia’s response to IOC Russia decision

The Australian Government notes the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision overnight and the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) endorsement of it this morning.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-instigated McLaren report has delivered compelling evidence of a systematic and sophisticated state-directed doping program in Russia that cannot be ignored.

I will be urgently seeking the AOC’s reassurance that Australian athletes will not be negatively impacted or unfairly disadvantaged by this decision.

I am also mindful there may be future revelations resulting from the McLaren investigation and will be looking for appropriate responses from the IOC, AOC and International Sporting Federations if this is the case, particular where medals have been awarded to Russian athletes.

The fight against doping in sport requires strong international leadership, none more so in this case, where the integrity of an entire Olympic and Paralympic Games is at stake.

Australia has long taken a strong stance against doping in sport and this case is no different.

As a long-standing member and supporter of the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Australian Government continues to strongly support WADA’s recommendations that the IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Sporting Federations each take definitive action within their respective powers to decline entries of all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

I maintain the view that any actions less than what WADA has recommended at this critical point in time risks Rio being overshadowed by a contagious suspicion of compromised integrity and damaging the reputation of the Olympic movement.

I encourage International Sporting Federations to take strength from the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling in considering their response to WADA’s recommendations.

While the immediate priority for all parties must be resolving matters relating to the impending 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics, these issues must not be allowed to fade into the background at the conclusion of the Games.

I will be personally meeting with WADA representatives in Rio in my capacity as Sports Minister, as well as other international counterparts, to discuss both this case and the need for a genuine commitment from all countries and sports to tough, internationally-consistent anti-doping standards.

This is essential to not only protecting the integrity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but world sport in general.