Russian Paralympic Committee disappointed over IPC membership decision

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MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. A decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) against reinstating the membership of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) with the global organization is disappointing, the RPC press service told TASS on Thursday.

Following a meeting of the IPC Executive Board members on September 10-11 in Spain’s Madrid, the global Paralympic body announced its decision to maintain the RPC membership suspension saying the Russian national committee failed to implement two of the initially required criteria.

“The Russian Paralympic Committee is upset with the IPC decision against the full-scale membership reinstatement with the international committee,” the RPC said in a statement. “The IPC earlier acknowledged that a great progress was achieved since the RPC membership with the IPC was suspended in August 2016. It is true because the RPC is cooperating with the IPC and is doing everything possible in order to see its membership reinstated.”

IPC President Andrew Parsons announced on Wednesday that “since the IPC suspended the RPC in August 2016 a lot of progress has been made and both the RPC and WADA should be applauded for getting the situation to this point.”

However, citing the reasons against the membership reinstatement of Russia’s governing Paralympic body, the IPC announced in its statement on Wednesday that “the RPC must provide an official response that specifically and adequately addresses the findings made by Professor McLaren [a criterion that WADA initially identified] and RUSADA [the Russian Anti-Doping Agency] must be reinstated by WADA.”

The Executive Board of the world’s governing Paralympic body also ruled that “the RPC must pay to the IPC the reimbursement costs outlined in the reinstatement criteria. These currently stand at 257,500 euros [over $300,750] and cover, amongst other things, the IPC testing program of Russian Para athletes and the costs related to the IPC Taskforce.”

“Although the RPC implemented six months ago all requirements of the IPC regarding the membership reinstatement, the IPC still keeps the RPC dependent on the execution of two remaining criteria, which are beyond the authority of the Russian Paralympic Committee,” the statement from the RPC continued.

The RPC also stated its readiness to reimburse all financial expenses required by the IPC, but added that no relevant documents in compliance with the Russian or international regulations had not been received as of yet.

“Regarding the financial issue, mentioned in the IPC report, the RPC is ready to settle all financial issues under the condition that the IPC submits documents, which are in compliance with the Russian and international laws and which the IPC has so far failed to submit despite our repeated requests,” the statement from the RPC reads.

“The RPC is ready for a detailed dialogue on this issue and expresses its hope that the RPC membership will be reinstated as soon as possible,” the statement said. “The RPC will come up with a detailed report on the issue based on the results of the WADA Executive Board’s session on September 20.”

On August 7, 2016, the the IPC decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 23, 2016 upheld the IPC’s ruling that came on the heels of a report delivered a month earlier by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.

Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend the RPC membership in the international organization.

Earlier this year, the world’s governing body of Paralympic sports stated that Russia’s membership suspension remained in force since the RPC failed to implement two provisions set out in the roadmap of the IPC Taskforce, which oversees the implementation of the requirements for the RPC reinstatement.

Para athletes from Russia participated in the 2018 Paralympics in the neutral status, dubbed as the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA), as the membership of the RPC with the IPC is currently suspended.

Russia’s so-called ‘neutral’ team of Para athletes brought home from PyeongChang a total of 24 medals, namely eight gold, 10 silver and six bronze, ranking second in the overall medal count of the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, after the United States.

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