Russia set to escape Winter Olympics ban

Russia is reportedly set to escape a ban from next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea and will instead be handed a large fine for endemic doping.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is understood to be close to issuing what has been described as an "F1-style" fine, sum similar to the $US100 million sanction slapped on McLaren in 2007 for spying on Ferrari.

That would be imposed as an alternative to excluding Russia from February's Games in PyeongChang.

Senior anti-doping officials have told PA Sport they believe the IOC and Russia have already agreed the terms of the sanction.

This includes the wording of an apology to be made by a senior Russian official in order to lift WADA'S suspension of the Russian anti-doping agency.

Speaking in London last week, IOC president Thomas Bach said the issue of Russia's punishment was in the hands of two commissions he set up last December and he hoped a decision would be reached soon.

Bach also stressed the decision by athletics' world governing body, the IAAF, to suspend the Russian athletics federation in 2015 was "special" because the IAAF was the only international body found to have "colluded" with Russia in its doping programme.

This was a reference to the role said to have been played by former IAAF president Lamine Diack and a tight-knit group of insiders who allegedly helped hide Russian positives in return for money.

However, the International Paralympic Committee took the same stance as the IAAF before last year's Rio Games, and anti-doping campaigners and athletes' groups have been calling for the IOC to take a much tougher line with Russia at PyeongChang 2018 than it took before Rio 2016.

Russia topped the medal tables at the both the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, winning almost half the gold medals available at the latter.

Athletes around the world have been waiting for these results to be revised after forensic evidence found that the Russian winners of four Olympic golds and a silver had returned urine samples with "physiologically impossible" levels of salt.

There were also 44 samples from 12 Russian medal winners that showed signs of tampering.


Photo: PHOTOSPORT Russia flag