Paralympics Ireland welcomes decision by the International Paralympic Committee today

Paralympics Ireland has welcomed the decision by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee with immediate effect. 

The decision was taken unanimously by the IPC Governing Board as a result of NPC Russia’s inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code.

Suspension proceedings against NPC Russia began following the publication of the McLaren Report on Monday, July 18th, along with additional information that had been received by the IPC from the report’s author. 

The IPC Governing Board evaluated all of the evidence before announcing the suspension of NPC Russia with immediate effect. Consequently, the Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter its athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

In line with the IPC’s Suspension Policy, the Russian Paralympic Committee now has 21 days (until August 28th) to appeal the decision. 

“This decision has placed a huge burden upon all our shoulders, but it’s a decision we’ve had to take in the best interest of the Paralympic Movement,” stated IPC President, Sir Philip Craven at the press conference today.  

“Ultimately, as the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement, it is our responsibility to ensure fair competition so that athletes can have confidence that they are competing on a level playing field. This is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport and, in order to achieve this, it is fundamental that each member abides by the rules." 

Speaking about the news, CEO of Paralympics Ireland Liam Harbison stated: “This is a huge decision not only for the integrity of sport in general, but particularly for Paralympic sport. Paralympics Ireland is firmly in support of the International Paralympic Committee and their commitment to clean sport to ensure that all athletes are able to compete on a fair and equal playing field. Irish Paralympic athletes undergo rigorous anti-doping testing both in and out of competition through Sport Ireland, and we believe the same rigour should be applied by all National Anti-Doping Organisations.

“National Paralympic Committees are the guardians of Paralympic sport in their national territories and should vehemently seek to identify and sanction doping violations with their National Anti-Doping Organisations.  Today’s decision from the IPC indicates that NPC Russia have not lived up to the standards expected in our movement.  I hope they take the necessary steps in the coming months and years to allow them return to International Paralympic sport.”

Also commenting on the enormous pressure on the IPC Governing Board, Harbison added: “The pressure on the IPC to take a different course must have been enormous in light of the recent IOC announcement to pass the decision for the Olympics on to the International Federations.  I commend the IPC Governing Board for their leadership on this matter and for clearly demonstrating the independence of the Paralympic movement and the importance of clean sport to the future integrity and credibility of the Paralympic movement.'

The full statement from IPC can be read here