The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has given press an update on the process of reinstatement of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) with the IPC saying they were ‘encouraged’ but there is still work to do, and announced on Monday that the suspension will be maintained.
The IPC set the criteria for the RPC reinstatement along-side the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and have stated that the RPC must not just meet these criteria once but continue to meet them. There are three overarching criteria that Russia must meet to receive reinstatement in to the IPC, these are seen below:
- The RPC is requirement to all the anti-doping codes applicable to an IPC member
- All relevant anti-doping agencies are able to carry out anti-doping activities in Russia in relation to Russian athletes without any external interference
- Participation in and support of personnel related to IPC events will not jeopardize the integrity of the competitions
Including these criteria, the IPC has also set verification criteria which also comes split in to four main areas. Establishment of a coordination committee, RPC governance, establishment of a strong anti-doping culture, and anti-doping education, testing, and results management.
Speaking to the media Andy Parkinson, Independent Chairperson of the IPC Taskforce spoke about the process of the taskforce. “Since the Taskforce started its work we have established a good working relationship and ongoing dialogue with the RPC. We have also met the RPC twice in person – first in December and most recently in early May.” He said, “The RPC has approached their work with significant enthusiasm, commitment and a real appetite to comply with what has been asked of them by the Taskforce… The Taskforce would like to place on record our gratitude for the hard work carried out by the RPC to date.”
The most significant comment from Parkinson came as the closing of his statement when he said, “while the Taskforce is encouraged by the RPC’s progress, there are a number of reinstatement criteria still to be met. Therefore the Taskforce recommended to the IPC Governing Board at its meeting in Barcelona last Thursday to maintain the RPC’s suspension at this stage.”
The head of the athlete’s council, Chelsey Gotell, announced that the athlete’s council supported the decision.
“As an athlete, when you line-up on the start line or take to the field of play you want to be confident that everyone is competing on a fair and level playing field; you do not want your mind distracted over whether your opponent is doped or not.” Said Gotell, “we sincerely hope that this situation can be quickly resolved by the RPC fulfilling the reinstatement criteria. They are well aware of what they need to do and sadly the longer they take to achieve it the longer Russian Para athletes will continue to miss out on IPC sanctioned competitions.”
The President of the IPC, Sir Phillip Craven also spoke about the decision, saying that there is not a moment to lose with the 2018 Paralympic Games approaching.
“Although we are pleased with the progress to date, a number of key criteria still need to be met. At the moment there are a lot of good plans with timelines on paper, but we now need to see plans in action and delivering concrete results. I am a firm believer that actions always speak louder than words.” Said Craven, “Ultimately Russia has to restore confidence in the wider sporting world. The RPC and Russian authorities need to build trust in their actions and prove to us all that from now on sport really is about morals over medals and not the other way round… We will do our utmost to help the RPC meet the reinstatement criteria in time.”
The most notable statement comes from Craven, “With 291 days to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, there is not a moment to waste. The IPC Taskforce will next update the IPC Governing Board in September and if the obligations have not been fully met by then, it will be very difficult for the RPC to have its suspension lifted in time to enter its athletes into the Paralympic Winter Games.”