March 15, 2019 / 1:39 PM / in 9 days

Paralympics: IPC lays down strict criteria for Russia reinstatement

LONDON (Reuters) - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has set down a long list of conditions Russia must meet for the next four years to avoid having a doping-related suspension reinstated.

FILE PHOTO: Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics - Closing Ceremony - Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea - March 18, 2018 - President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons speaks during the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Carl Recine

Russia’s Paralympic Committee (RPC) was officially welcomed back into the fold on Friday after a 30-month suspension imposed over allegations of state-sponsored doping was lifted.

But it was left in no doubt that the lifting of the suspension would be revoked should the RPC be found in breach of anti-doping rules until December, 2022.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the RPC back as an IPC member,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement.

“The organization should be under no illusions, however, that should it at any stage not meet the post-reinstatement criteria, the IPC Governing Board can reconsider its membership status. This could include the IPC revoking the conditional reinstatement.”

Conditions the RPC must satisfy include remaining compliant with all the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Program (including, in particular, the World Anti-Doping Code) and the IPC Anti-Doping Code.

Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) must also avoid being declared “non-compliant” while Russian para athletes will only be allowed to compete in selected events if they have met minimum testing requirements for the prior six months.

In reinstating the RPC, the IPC said it had met 69 of the 70 criteria outlined in 2016 after it was suspended.

“It is now a much-improved organization from the time when it was suspended,” Parsons said.

The RPC has been barred from international competitions since August, 2016, following a two-part WADA-commissioned report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren in 2016 found evidence of a state-sponsored doping schemes across several sports and at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi.

It meant Russian athletes were absent from the Rio Olympics in 2016 and last year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The lifting of the ban clears the way for the Russian paralympic team to compete at next year’s Tokyo Games.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond

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