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Russia May Lose World Cup if Key Teams Refuse to Participate - Ex-WADA Leader

Russia can be stripped of the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup if important national teams refuse to participate in the event, yet the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) will take the final decision, Richard Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, leaders from 19 National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) urged in a joint statement to ban Russia from competing and hosting any international sports events over "institutionalized doping violations" in Russian sports.

"It will be a consensus within FIFA. But I would say that if … a number of important teams would decide, for example, they will not participate in competitions in Russia then that could be the beginning of the possibility," Pound told R-Sport.

At the same time, Pound said he was not "close to FIFA" so he couldn’t know what the organization was thinking.

Russia will host the FIFA World Cup from 14 June to 14 July, 2018.

Richard McLaren, who was appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to head an independent investigative team, walks out off the room after presenting his report in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 18, 2016 - Sputnik International
Moscow Considers McLaren Report 'Falsified,' Prepares Criminal Offenses
The doping scandal, simmering since 2014, escalated in July 2016 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission headed by Richard McLaren presented a report accusing Russia of running a state-wide doping program and urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider a blanket ban on the entire Russian Olympic team. The IOC instead let individual sports federations act on the issue.

As a result, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned Russian athletes from taking part in international competitions including the 2016 Summer Olympics. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) later banned all Russian Paralympic athletes from the 2016 Summer Paralympics and the 2018 Winter Games.

On December 9, 2016, the WADA independent commission issued the second part of the report on alleged Russian doping abuse, revealing manipulations by athletes in 30 sporting disciplines.

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