By Brian Homewood and Martyn Herman
GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – An international anti-doping commission recommended on Monday that the Russian Athletics Federation be banned from the sport over widespread doping offences – a move that could see the powerhouse Russian team banished from Olympic competition.
Here are quotes from the announcement and reaction.
Dick Pound, former head of World Anti-Doping Agency and author of review:
“It’s worse than we thought, it has the effect of factually affecting the results on the field and play and athletes, both in Russia and abroad, are suffering as a result. It maybe a residue of the old Soviet system…they must stop it and make a new start.”
“If they (Russia) do the surgery, and do the therapy, I hope they can get there (Rio de Janeiro) and compete. The idea is not to exclude people from the Olympics but, sometimes, that’s the price you pay. I hope they’ll say this is an opportunity to get rid of the old system, get rid of the old coaches and change their ways.”
“Some of the things we found were nasty surprises to us and I think (IAAF president) Sebastian Coe is somebody who can grasp this and be transformational enough to bring some change to athletics. Sport is at risk if he doesn’t.”
“I think the credibility of sport has taken some fairly serious body blows in the last few months with FIFA and its particular forms of corruption. And now the IAAF. And these are two of the most important sports in the world. It doesn’t just stop there. Public opinion is going to move towards the view that all sport is corrupt.”
“We don’t think Russia is the only country with a doping problem and we don’t think athletics is the only sport with a doping problem.”
“At some point, the Olympic moment and governments will have to say are we going to do this properly or should we all go home?”
“Kenya has a real problems, it’s been very slow to acknowledge there is a problem, there is apparently some kind of investigation going on as we speak. If they don’t do a good job, somebody else will do a job for them.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe:
“The information in WADA’s independent commission’s report is alarming. I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF. This step has not been taken lightly. We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport.”
Acting head of the Russian Athletics Federation Vadim Zelichenok:
“Any suspension should be discussed at the meeting of the IAAF in November. It should be proven that any violations were the fault of the federation and not individual sportspeople. We should be given a chance to clear our names.”
“It is only a recommendation.”
Nikita Kamaev, executive director of Russia’s anti-doping watchdog RUSADA:
He said the WADA doping allegations against Russia are groundless.
United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart:
“USADA applauds the work of the WADA Independent Commission, led by Mr. Pound, in exposing a Russian effort to takeover sport through unlawful means.
“The evidence released today demonstrates a shocking level of corruption, and sends a clear message to Russia that they will not be allowed to cheat the world’s athletes and escape justice behind a wall of deception and lies.
“If Russia has created an organised scheme of state-supported doping, then they have no business being allowed to compete on the world stage.”
British Sports Minister Tracey Crouch:
“It is an extraordinarily dark day for athletics”
Katharine Merry, British bronze medallist at 400m in Sydney Olympics:
“Not ashamed to say upset today…reading and listening to words that tear into the heart of our sport…our truly great sport. Sad times.”
Paula Radcliffe, British marathon runner and world record holder:
“Just got off plane to catch up on these damning and serious revelations. Too much to address in tweets: bottom line – truth eventually comes.
“Suspected some of this for years but way worse than imagined. Athletics needs to take strong action and move quickly forward in right.”
WADA president Craig Reedie:
“The Independent Commission’s Report contains a series of findings that will shock and appall athletes and sports fans worldwide, and indeed many issues that highlight very current deficiencies with the anti-doping system in Russia.”
International Centre for Sport Security:
“The money laundering, extortion, bribery and corruption allegations that have affected the IAAF have not only further damaged the integrity and credibility of athletics but have underlined the serious and significant governance and integrity challenges now facing sport.”
(Reporting by Brian Homewood and Martyn Herman, Editing by Angus MacSwan and Jon Boyle)