Russia’s ban on hosting major events between now and 2024, and on Russian teams and athletes competing in them will not apply to Euro 2020 next year because UEFA is not considered to be a ‘major event organisation’.
This means that St Petersburg can continue as one of the host cities and also that Russia can compete in the World Cup Qualifying tournament for 2022, as that is organised by UEFA, but not in the World Cup itself as that is organised by FIFA which is considered a major event organisation.
The ban on Russian Athletes will apply to the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. The end date could include Paris 2024 as well depending on when the date of the ban becomes final and that depends on whether Russia accepts or appeals within the next 20 days.
Major Athletics tournaments organised by the IAAF will be included but the European Athletics Cross country Championships being staged at the Sport Ireland Campus next year could, it would appear, host Russian athletes.
The ban does allow for individuals or teams than can prove they are ‘drug-free’ to their own international governing body to compete under a neutral flag, as happened in Rio.
One of the few Olympic Leaders who originally questioned whether banning athletes from Russia from participating in those games was former Olympic Council of Ireland chief Pat Hickey.
In a harbinger of how controversy would shadow Shane Ross’s tenure as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Hickey laid out his arguments in defence of Russia at a federation of Irish Sport Conference in Croke Park that marked Minister Ross’s first public appearance in the role.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” said WADA President Sir Craig Readie yesterday when confirming that the organisation would be imposing the ban.
“The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response.”
Deception and Denial
“That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”
“As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.”
Sport Ireland has been a strong supporter of imposing the maximum and harshest penalties on those who are proven to have been involved in doping and were to the fore in opposing a degree of laxity that was originally perceived in how Russia was allowed back into international competition ahead of being fully and finally absolved.
They were right to stand up.
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