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Doping: International media welcome sanctions imposed on Russia

 The international media on Wednesday mostly welcomed the sanctions imposed on Russia for its doping practices by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

At the same time there were plenty of raised eyebrows because football’s ruling body FIFA said the IOC ruling had “no impact” on the preparations for next year’s World Cup in Russia although its chief organiser Vitaly Mutko was banned for life from the Games by the IOC for his involvement in state-sponsored doping activities.

“Perhaps we should not be surprised. Football’s governing body has never cared much about the grubbier side of the game,” Britain’s The Guardian said.

The same paper noted the support for the IOC ruling which banned Russia as a team from the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang but allows individual Russians in.

“Many…recognised there was no perfect solution but were pleased the IOC had finally took firmer action,” The Guardian said.

For U.S. journalist Alan Abrahamson, “the task at hand was to make it seem like the IOC was coming down hard on the Russians … while simultaneously crafting a diplomatic compromise that would serve the IOC’s long-term purposes.”

Abrahamson said this compromise was mainly reached by allowing Russian athletes to compete in South Korea, not merely as independent Olympic athletes as others in the past but as “Olympic Athlete from Russia.”

This move, he said, is possibly designed to appease Russian President Vladimir Putin who will likely have the final say on whether Russian athletes will be participating.

The New York Times said “the IOC went to great lengths in an attempt to avoid any call for a boycott, which presumably would come from Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“Bridges for Putin” was the headline of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung editorial in Germany which said sanctions should have been much harsher in this “biggest doping conspiracy since the end of the Cold War.

The Sueddeutsche said the IOC was “sending a bizarre message in its subtext: doping is only then the worst sin and punished with up to life bans if individual athletes do it.

Not as bad is the cheating when an entire state organizes it with secret service meticulousness.”

Italy’s La Repubblica said that “the IOC choses a compromise but does punish” and Norway’s Verdens Gang said “the decision will make many angry in Russia but it was necessary.”

In Switzerland, the home of the IOC, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung said “the decision allows everyone to more or less save face.”

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