Thursday 14 December, 2017

IOC ban aims to cause political unrest, claims Russian PM

The Olympic rings at Pyeongchang ahead of the 2018 Winter Games.

The Olympic rings at Pyeongchang ahead of the 2018 Winter Games.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has claimed there was a political motive behind the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to ban the country from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The Schmid Report, commissioned by the IOC, confirmed allegations of widespread manipulation of anti-doping procedures, leading to a lifetime Olympic ban for deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, while Russia cannot enter the Pyeongchang Games.

And Medvedev, who addressed the issue on Thursday, believes the decision was intended to impact the upcoming Russian vote in which president Vladimir Putin will stand for re-election.

"This is politics," Medvedev told a state television broadcast. "The decision was made in the run-up to the presidential elections in our country, aiming to create a certain mood in our society.

"Abroad, they understand very well the importance attached in our country to high achievement in sports. For millions of our people, the decision was a heavy blow."

Putin has confirmed that Russia will not prevent athletes from entering the 2018 Winter Olympics under a neutral flag.