International Paralympic Committee to reinstate Russia

Andrew parsons
IPC president Andrew Parsons says the RPC has met 69 of the 70 reinstatement criteria

The International Paralympic Committee is to lift its ban on Russian Para-athletes - but under strict conditions.

The 29-month suspension for the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), enforced in 2016 following the McLaren report, will be lifted by March 15.

The report found Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years in the "vast majority" of summer and winter Olympic sports.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said 69 of 70 reinstatement criteria had been met.

The sole condition yet to be fulfilled is an adequate response to the McLaren report, with the RPC refusing to accept its findings.

Parsons said: "The board was faced with a straightforward question: should we dig our heels in and continue to wait for a very unlikely Russian response to the McLaren report - a move that will keep the RPC suspended indefinitely and Russian Para-athletes ineligible to compete.

"Or, do we consider whether it is possible to find another way forward to enable the RPC to comply with its IPC membership obligations? The board chose the latter."

Parsons accepted some athletes outside Russia could be unhappy with the decision, but he believes it is the best solution and that the RPC has fundamentally changed in the past two years.

He also said the decision was "unanimous" and that six of the IPC governing board's 13 voting members were Para-athletes who between them have competed in 14 Paralympic Games.

"During its suspension, the RPC has implemented 69 measures which provide the IPC with confidence it is now a very different organisation to the one it was prior to Rio 2016," Parsons added.

"Russian Para athletes are amongst, and will continue to be, the most tested athletes in the Paralympic movement."

The decision comes after WADA accepted Russia's anti-doping agency back into the fold, although an IAAF ban for 2019 is still in force after it was upheld in December.

What does Russia need to do now?

Yuri Ganus
RUSADA director general general Yuri Ganus

The RPC must meet a number of post-reinstatement criteria set out by the IPC before the ban is formally lifted.

They include:

  • The RPC remains compliant with all the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Program and the IPC Anti-Doping Code
  • All relevant bodies must all be able to carry out their respective anti-doping activities in Russia without external interference
  • RUSADA must not be declared non-compliant by WADA
  • Up until 31 December 2022, Russian Para-athletes will only be entitled to participate in certain competitions (including the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games) if they have met the specified testing requirements

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