President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has claimed that his country has been treated unfairly by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which imposed a four-year ban on it for institutionalised doping violations.
Speaking in Paris, where he was a part of a state visit, President Putin hit out at the global sporting authorities for barring the country as a whole from major sports events for the next four years. He also almost confirmed that Russia would file and appeal against the decision.
"Any punishment should be individual, and should be linked to what has been done ... by one person or another. A punishment cannot be collective, and apply to people who have nothing to do with certain violations."
He also said: "And if there are no complaints against it, then the country should compete under the national flag. That's written in the Olympic charter. That means that, in that aspect, the WADA decision violated the Olympic charter. We have all grounds to appeal."
President Putin also didn't shy away from ascribing political motives behind this decision – a thinly veiled attack at USA and other Western countries with whom Russia's relations have weakened in recent times.
"If someone takes such a decision about collective punishment, I think there is every grounds to suppose that the basis for such decisions is not a care about the purity of international sport, but political considerations which have nothing to do with the interest of sport or the Olympic movement," the Russian head of state told the press.
Russian sports authorities have 21 days from the WADA judgement to appeal against the decision. If the appeal is filed, which seems very likely, the matter would reach the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The chances however, of Russia getting re-instated look bleak since WADA has cited the refusal of Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to hand over their data to them as the cause of the ban.
Russia had previously been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics but then were temporarily re-instated. The institutionalized nature of doping has been troubling Russia for many years. Things seemed to have gone over the cliff for one of the most successful nations in the history of Olympics.