Aim of IOC verdict is to cause political harm to Russia: PM

Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev
Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. (File Photo: IANS) Reuter

The purpose of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) commissions decision to bar acquitted Russian athletes from the Winter Olympics in South Korea is to cause political harm to Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

The IOC earlier issued a statement declining a request to send invitations to the Games to 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been cleared by the Swiss-based court, reports Tass news agency.

"The IOC's commission made a disgraceful decision. It was unfair and unlawful. Also, it was immoral and politicized. By prohibiting our athletes, whose rights were restored by the court of arbitration, created especially for settling such disputes, the IOC's commission trampled down the Olympic Charter and elementary principles of law," Medvedev said on his Facebook page.

"Unproven guilt spells innocence. It is up to the court to make the final decision. This time a decision was made by a group of people who placed themselves above the court, the IOC, the athletes and the fans. The purpose of this decision is very far away from sports. Its aim is to cause political harm to our country," Medvedev said.

Medvedev agreed the IOC had the right to decide who of the athletes should be invited to the Olympics.

"But how can one explain the fact that those who face no legal charges and whose guilt was not proven in court are not invited? This approach runs counter to the fundamental basics of law. Not to mention the risk of ruining the careers of people who dedicated their whole life to sport," Medvedev said.

"Doping has nothing to do with that," he said. "Talking about that further on is laughable."

"It might be possible to somehow tolerate a biased doping investigation targeted against one country, Russia, but the commission's decision to defy a verdict pronounced by a court for sport is beyond one's grasp," Medvedev said. "The result will be a long-term one."

"First, business gained the upper hand over the testament of Pierre de Coubertin in the IOC. Now politics has overpowered law and decency," Medvedev said.

"I feel sorry for the Olympic movement. And for the athletes. The same could have happened to any of them. And I feel sorry for the fans," he added.

Source: IANS