“The punishment of the guilty should not deprive innocent basic human rights”
In anticipation of the fateful meeting of the WADA Executive Committee for Russia, the president of the International Fencing Federation Alisher Usmanov addressed Craig Ridi, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, with an open letter. He asked the functionary to make a fair decision in this situation.
“I understand perfectly the complexity of the issue considered on December 9, 2019. Fully supporting the most serious sanctions against any violators of doping rules, I stand for a fair decision based on universally recognized principles of law and the Olympic Charter ... The ban on flying the Russian flag will be obvious discrimination, which is not a privilege, but the right of an athlete, ” the letter says.
“The merciless fight against doping should not turn into lynching and the application of new sanctions for the same violation. The punishment of the guilty should not deprive the innocent of basic human rights, ”said Usmanov.
The functionary also spoke about a possible ban for Russia in the coming years to hold any major international tournaments.
“The recommendations of the Compliance Committee recognize the innocence of the Russian Olympic Committee, but it is proposed to remove its elected representatives from participating in major international events, which will place Russian athletes in obviously unfavorable conditions compared to athletes from other countries,” the letter says.
“It's about political pressure”
Other Russian sports functionaries did not stand aside. In particular, the former head of the Bobsleigh Federation of Russia Alexander Zubkov spoke about a meeting of the WADA executive committee. According to the two-time Olympic medalist, in this situation we are talking about political pressure.
“Russia is a leader in the sports movement. And politics usually uses all the leverage available to it. That is why we need to show strength in the same direction. In addition, it is important to build contact between the IOC, OCD and other Russian organizations, ”the source said.
At the same time, he expressed the assumption that led to similar problems, and why such serious sanctions by international sports organizations became possible.
“I think that WADA is pushing for a split and toward such an attitude by our sports authorities, OCD, and federation leaders. Therefore, athletes should not pay attention to this, but simply perform their function, go to the start and compete. Recall my situation. Then there was also a flaw on the part of sports officials. I had already finished my career at that time, but there were those who lost the chance to go to the start, although they were not to blame for this. We had to prove our case alone, ”said Zubkov.
Finally, he told how it relates to the fact that in the coming years, Russian athletes may be forced to play in neutral status without the ability to go to the start under the flag of their country.
“Our athletes will not be able to see how their flag rises, to hear their anthem, unlike representatives of other countries. This whole situation can lead to the outflow of children from sports. Parents will be reluctant to send them to sports sections. Should I go to the Olympics with a neutral status? Of course, we remember the situation in 2018 before Pyeongchang, when the athletes themselves had to make such a decision. But this is the right of any athlete, ”summed up Zubkov.
“Some of our partners do not want to see positive”
In turn, the president of the Russian Wrestling Federation (FSBR) Mikhail Mamiashvili admitted that he hoped for a better outcome for Russian sports.
“I would not even want to predict such a development of events as the removal of all Russian sports, but this issue, among other things, is on the agenda. But I do not think that such a decision should be made. It will be extremely unfair and inhumane. A huge number of Russian athletes who live in the Olympic Games and prepare for them are absolutely “clean,” Mamiashvili said RT.
According to the functionary, harsh sanctions against Russian sport will become unfair also because a lot has been done in the country in recent years to combat doping.
“A whole range of measures was adopted, criminal liability was introduced. Huge work has been done. She should at least be noticed. But some of our partners, unfortunately, do not want to see positive, ”said the head of the FSBR.
“I declare responsibly that no country in the world has created such intolerable conditions for the use of prohibited drugs. This should also be taken into account in the final verdict. I am convinced that the world community will be objective in this situation, ”Mamiashvili added.
The Olympic champion also said that even with the worst-case scenario, domestic sport will continue to struggle and emerge from the test with honor and dignity.
“If this happens, God forbid, it happens, there will be no conventions. This will mean that everything is done to split the society. We will come out of this situation only stronger. It will be a fierce test. But we can handle it. I hope that common sense will prevail, ”summed up Mamiashvili.
“WADA has no right to make statements about the country”
The head of the Boxing Federation of Russia Umar Kremlev called not to sprinkle ashes on his head in anticipation of the decisive meeting of the WADA executive committee.
“So far we are only talking about recommendations from WADA. I think the members of the WADA and IOC executive committees are healthy people, and they won’t reach such a tough decision regarding Russia. Nevertheless, our country is one of the greatest sports powers, ”said the functionary.
He also told who is to blame for the situation. According to him, there is a clear flaw on the part of domestic sports functionaries.
“It's about neglect. This is the task of the leaders of the federations. We must work in the international arena and establish cooperation with the IOC and WADA. Just because the problem does not arise. This is a challenge for us all. Everyone should think and start working. The leaders of sports federations are to blame for what they brought to this. The WADA and IOC Executive Committees no longer have our representatives. The country has trusted us, and we must justify this trust, ”Kremlev emphasized.
According to him, WADA simply would not have put forward such serious charges, and some representatives of the Russian side themselves gave rise to severe sanctions.
“But WADA also has no right to make statements about the country. This is just an anti-doping laboratory. If they have evidence, they can calmly indict specific athletes. And so it is jealousy and envy, ”Kremlev noted.
Finally, the head of the federation told how boxers from the Russian national team relate to a possible performance under neutral status.
“I talked with our team, they said that they want to go to the Olympic Games not just for the sake of a medal, but to raise the flag of the country on a pedestal and play our anthem. They ask that we join the fight and include all the resources in order to prevent this, ”the functionary summed up.