On 7 August the IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) due to its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory).
The decision, which came just one month ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympics, made global headlines and underlined the IPC’s commitment to clean sport for all involved in the Paralympic Movement. This is why it has secured No. 3 position in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2016.
The IPC’s decision, which resulted in Russian athletes not being allowed to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, was taken following the publication in mid-July of the McLaren report – an investigation led by Professor McLaren commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – and after allowing the RPC to present its case in both writing and in person.
McLaren’s report and subsequent investigations found that at least 11 positive drugs tests from Russian athletes involved in Paralympic sports were covered up by the Moscow anti-doping laboratory on orders from Russia’s ministry of sport between 2012 and 2015. Evidence that 18 samples from Russian athletes competing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games had been tampered with was also found.
“Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State-run system that is cheating the athletes,” said Sir Philip Craven in announcing the RPC’s suspension at a press conference in Rio.
An appeal to overturn the suspension by the Russian Paralympic Committee was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who said the RPC did not provide any evidence contradicting the facts put forward by the IPC.
In November, the IPC informed the RPC of the reinstatement criteria it must meet in order to have its IPC membership suspension lifted.
Developed in consultation with WADA, the reinstatement criteria identify the core, high-level requirements the RPC must meet in order to be reinstated as an IPC member.
Supporting the reinstatement criteria are the underlying verification criteria, which set out certain specific matters that need to be rectified by the RPC.
To assist with the reinstatement process, the IPC will be appointing a taskforce that will work with the RPC and assist the IPC in determining whether the reinstatement criteria and underlying verification criteria have been met.
Sir Philip added: “The aim of the reinstatement criteria and the IPC taskforce is to assist the RPC as much as we can in bringing about the significant practical and cultural changes that are required in order for it to fulfil its IPC membership obligations in full.
“Although there is no timeline for the RPC to implement the changes required, we want to work closely with them in order to bring about the necessary changes sooner, rather than later.
“The RPC is an important part of the Paralympic Movement and its athletes want to be competing against the world’s best athletes on the international stage. With the RPC’s full co-operation and transparency, we will immediately lift its suspension once we are confident that all reinstatement criteria and verification criteria have been, and will continue to be, met in full.”
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2016, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.