The Athletes Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency recommends excluding Russia from the Olympics. This is revealed by the British crown corporation BBC on Sunday.
The committee spoke in favor of excluding Russia from the 2020 Summer Games in Japan and the 2022 Winter Games in China.
This recommendation was taken by majority and not unanimously. In a press release, 9 of the 17 members explained that this decision “was the only appropriate sanction”.
“I am one of 9 members of the WADA Athlete Committee who support a full suspension,” US paracyclist Greta Neimanas wrote on Twitter. The Russian government has betrayed its own athletes by cheating and opting for deception. If the next generation wants a healthy and secure future, then meaningful changes must be made. “
“We maintain that if we impose a less drastic sanction, it will encourage and perpetuate the fraud, manipulation and deception which has been exposed so far,” the nine athletes added in a document transmitted to the BBC.
Remember that the Canadian Beckie Scott is still the president of the Athletes Committee. Until the appointment of his successor on January 23, New Zealander Ben Sandford (skeleton). She left her place on November 8.
WADA is meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday to discuss sanctions against Russia.
Russia, an economic heavyweight
“We have always been, and we will be, partners of international sports organizations in the development of sport and in the organization of competitions,” said Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.
“I think that all international organizations have an interest in their level of cooperation with Russia remaining the same,” added the Russian leader.
Pavel Kolobkov, who succeeded Vitali Moutko in 2016, sums up in two sentences the influence of Russia, firmly established in international sporting bodies and host of events for which the candidates are not legion.
With its multinational energy companies (Gazprom) or the banking sector (VTB), the Russian economy has invested in the field of sponsorship of international sports federations.
Gazprom is thus the official sponsor of the Champions League in soccer, the queen competition for teams, in the same way as the American company Mastercard (finance) or the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan.
The name of the oil giant was the sponsor of FIFA until the 2018 World Cup.
Gazprom is also featured on the jerseys of several European teams, such as Zenit Saint Petersburg, Red Star Belgrade and FC Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga.
Known for his strong ties with Vladimir Poutin, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who holds positions in the energy company via Nord Stream, is also close to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach. The two got to know each other through German politics.
The VTB bank, for its part, is one of the main sponsors of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). One of the three FIG vice-presidents, Russian Vasily Titov, was first vice-president of VTB.
Among the sanctions Russia faces is a ban on hosting world championships for four years.
The big meeting of sport business and international sports federations, Sport Accord, will take place in 2021 in Yekaterinburg. This was confirmed by the organizers on November 30.
This is the second aspect: the presence of Russia in the governing bodies.
A third of the international summer Olympic sports federations have a Russian representative on their executive committees, and six of them have a Russian president or vice-president.
Two Russian businessmen, Vladimir Lisin (45th world fortune according to the magazine Forbes with US $ 19.3 billion) and Alisher Usmanov (106th, US $ 12.1 billion), lead the international shooting federations (ISSF) and fencing (FIE).
Alisher Usmanov, at the head of the FIE since 2008, contributes with his personal fortune to the financing of the federation. A line in the receipts of the 2019 and 2020 budgets includes the mention “gift of the president” with the sum of 5 million US dollars, out of a total of 9.5 million receipts in 2019.
Mr. Usmanov has also invested in English club Arsenal.
The Russian presence goes back to the top of the state. Vladimir Putin is Honorary President of the International Judo Federation (IJF).
Since the conditional reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in September 2018, Russia has secured the organization of the Champions League final in 2021 in St. Petersburg, the Volleyball World Cup in 2022, the World Wrestling Championships in 2022 in Krasnoyarsk and the Universiade in 2023 in Yekaterinburg.
Russia welcomed athletes from around the world to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, hosted the Soccer World Cup in 2018 and will host some Euro fixtures in 2020.
Russia mainly extends its influence on the less lucrative disciplines.
“Russia is influential because it hosts and wants to host many competitions, especially for international federations that do not have a lot of money. Many of these competitions are expensive to organize, they do not attract a large audience, ”said Montreal lawyer Richard Pound to AFP.
Recall that the 2021 Biathlon World Championships had been awarded to Tyumen (just north of Kazakhstan), before the International Biathlon Federation (IBU) finally gave it up under pressure.