IOC calm over Pyeongchang Winter Games doping appeal by Russian athletes

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends an IOC session ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018

IOC calm over Pyeongchang Winter Games doping appeal by Russian athletes

LONDON: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was not worried about an expected ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expected today on whether 32 Russian athletes should be allowed to compete at the Winter Games starting this week.
As many as 32 Russian athletes filed yet more appeals with CAS seeking spots in the games. The 32 failed to pass IOC vetting and were not invited.
“We’re not fearful in any way,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
“We wait for the decision (today). We’re very confident with the stance we’ve taken.”
The IOC expects 168 Russian athletes who have been deemed “clean” to participate in the games under the banner of “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” absent of any national flags, uniforms or national logos.
The contentious issue of the Russian ban, and the way it was handled by the IOC, threatens to overshadow the games themselves with 3,000 athletes expected to compete.
The sense that the story refuses to go away was only added to as Russia’s Olympic Athletes Commission expressed “huge disappointment” over the IOC’s decision not to invite to Pyeongchang 15 Russian athletes and staff whose life bans for doping were lifted.
The IOC ruled on Monday that 13 Russian athletes and two ex-athletes now working as support staff will not be invited to the Pyeongchang Winter Games despite having their life bans for doping removed last week by CAS.
The IOC has barred Russia from the Pyeongchang Olympics, which open on Friday, over a widespread doping conspiracy. But 169 Russians who have passed strict anti-doping protocols will compete under a neutral flag as Olympic Athletes from Russia.
“With a huge disappointment, the members of ROC’s Athletes’ Commission have found out about decision of IOC’s Invitation Review Panel not to invite 13 Russian athletes and 2 coaches fully acquitted by (the CAS) to 2018 Winter Olympics,” the commission statement said.
“It’s surprising that IOC Commission makes its decisions on the basis of some additional, suspicious, and anonymous information and accounts of one single fraudster,” the commission said, referring to whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who is the source of revelations on Moscow’s state-sponsored doping.
The Russian athletes’ statement said that they have supported the IOC statement “that it’s necessary to respect rights of clean athletes.”
However, the commission said that the “massive denial for clean Russian athletes violates the principle of equality and contests efficiency of justice.”
“Dreams of athletes willing to participate in Olympics who have fairly won the right for it are being destroyed, and irreparable damage is being caused to basic ideals, values of Olympism,” it said.


Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

Updated 03 April 2020

Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

  • Neymar donated part of the money to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • The rest of the donation went to a charitable fund launched by his friend Luciano Huck, a Brazilian TV presenter

RIO DE JANEIRO: Neymar has donated $1 million to fight the impact of the new coronavirus in his native Brazil, according to TV network SBT.
The Paris Saint-Germain star, the world’s third-highest-paid footballer, donated part of the money to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the rest to a charitable fund launched by his friend Luciano Huck, a Brazilian TV presenter, the report said.
The striker’s press office declined to comment, saying: “We never talk about donations or amounts.”
Neymar, 28, followed the example of PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, who last month made what was described as a major donation — amount undisclosed — to a French charity helping fight the impact of COVID-19.
Huck, who has been touted as a possible candidate in Brazil’s 2022 presidential election, launched his fund to help poor Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.
The donations come as high-paid footballers face pressure to forego some of their salaries amid the crisis, which has ground the sporting world to a halt and left some clubs struggling to pay their staff.
Neymar is riding out the pandemic at his luxury villa in Mangaratiba, a resort town outside Rio.
He faced criticism last week after he was photographed relaxing with a group of friends on a beach volleyball court, even as half the world’s population — including most of Brazil — is in confinement to slow the virus’ spread.
His press team said he was receiving no visitors and was in quarantine at a “completely isolated” residence with people who made the trip from France with him.