Russia has been banned from sending a team to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.
Here are the key talking points from a decision announced by the International Olympic Committee this evening.
Why is Russia banned?
The ban follows an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics which was hosted by Russia in Sochi. Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, who was director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during Sochi 2014, claimed the country had created substances to enhance performances and even switched urine samples to avoid detection.
What has been decided?
To suspend the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect. However, invited Russian athletes can still participate in Pyeongchang, under the banner ’Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)’. They will compete under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem will be played in any medal ceremony, sure to serve as a reminder of Russia’s past wrongdoing.
So who loses out?
Well, officials from the Russian Ministry of Sport will be refused accreditation for PyeongChang 2018, an embarrassing position given they ran the show last time. Deputy PM Vitaly Mutko, who was sports minister in 2014, has been banned from the Olympics for life. Mutko is also head of Russia’s 2018 World Cup organising committee and president of the country’s football federation.
Is there more?
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov is suspended and Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko has been withdrawn from the Beijing 2022 coordination commission. The IOC has reserved the right to sanction other individuals implicated in the system, so there could still be punishments to come.
Is there a financial penalty?
The Russian Olympic Committee is to reimburse the investigation costs incurred by the IOC. It must also contribute to the establishment of a new testing authority and has been landed with a bill for 15 million US dollars (£11.16million).
What happens next?
The IOC could lift the ROC’s suspension – either fully or partially – at the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Russia could even be involved in the closing ceremony. But the IOC says for that to happen the sanctions must be “fully respected and implemented” by the ROC as well as the invited athletes and officials.