Olympics: Dick Pound slams IOC 'moral leadership' crisis over Russia doping

Dick Pound (left), speaking to journalists on Aug 2, 2016, ahead of the Olympic Games.
Dick Pound (left), speaking to journalists on Aug 2, 2016, ahead of the Olympic Games.PHOTO: AFP

MONTREAL (AFP) - Senior IOC member Dick Pound on Saturday (Aug 6) slammed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC's) lack of "moral leadership" over the Russia doping crisis and said the organisation now faces a battle to restore its credibility.

Pound, the first president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), declared himself "hugely disappointed by the IOC's lack of resolve in dealing with proven government-sponsored cheating."

His comments are likely to step up tensions between IOC and anti-doping campaigners. IOC president Thomas Bach has criticised Wada and called for its reform.

A report for Wada by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren said there was a "state-dictated failsafe system" of cheating in Russia. The IOC has banned more than 100 Russian athletes from the Rio Games but decided against a blanket ban.

"This was a perfect opportunity for the IOC to provide moral leadership in regard to a country that showed complete contempt for the rules of the game," Pound, a known hardliner of drug cheats within the IOC, said in a commentary for the Globe and Mail newspaper.

"The best that could be said of the IOC in the circumstances is that it fumbled the ball and, in the process, may well have scored an own goal."

 

Pound said the IOC move to make individual federations decide which Russians could take part was "an abandonment of its responsibility."

Pound said the IOC now faces a long campaign "to earn back its reputation for safeguarding the integrity of Olympic competition and protecting clean athletes".

He said the IOC had to act to end the "chronic" under-funding of Wada and give it increased power to conduct investigations and call on governments to give assistance.

Pound said the doping watchdog had to be given the power to test 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and to impose provisional sanctions rather than just give alerts of suspicions to other federations.