Posted November. 30, 2017 08:23,
Updated November. 30, 2017 09:23
The Russian doping scandal continues to spread uncontrollably. Amid the on-going controversy, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has become the first winter sport association to support Russian athletes’ participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. It remains to be seen if the IIHF’s support for Russia’s participation will have an influence in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board meeting on December 5.
The IOC investigated Russian doping and handed life bans to 19 Russian athletes from the 2014 Sochi Olympics over anti-doping rule violations on Monday. Against this backdrop, Russia has lost 11 medals out of 33 won at Sochi. The IOC plans to decide whether to allow Russian participation at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at the Executive Board meeting to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland on December 5.
To the ice hockey world, the IOC’s punishment on Russia is considered a risk of ice hockey. The National Hockey League (NHL) in North America, to which the world’s top players flock, has already announced it will not participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The NHL players participated in the Winter Olympics for five consecutive times from Nagano in 1998 to Sochi in 2014.
“To preserve the integrity of the Olympic ice hockey tournaments, the IIHF in full cooperation with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the Kontinental Hockey League initiated a highly structured testing program for the KHL, MHL, and WHL, which went into operation in December 2016 and up to the present has tested nearly 400 Russian players,” the IIHF said in a statement on Wednesday. “To this effect, the IIHF Council reiterates its position that clean athletes from all qualified Federations should be permitted to go to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and represent their countries.”