00:25 GMT12 July 2020
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    Canadian national sports organizations have been conspiring against Russian athletes on the government’s order, according to a report by The Fancy Bears hacking group. The report states that following Canada’s poor performance at the Olympics in London, Sochi, and Rio, Canada chose Russia as a target and led a fight against doping in sport.

    Sputnik discussed the probability of a Canadian conspiracy against Russian athletes outlined in a report titled "Canada uses every trick in the book to own the podium" with Anthony Moretti, Associate Professor in the Department of Communications at Robert Morris University.

    Sputnik: Do you think it’s likely that Canada conspired against Russia athletes?

    Anthony Moretti: I don't know if I'm convinced that this was a Canada led effort as much as I really believe that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying desperately to find a way to project an Olympic Games that are as clean and as pure as possible. The problem with that, we know, is that the science is always going to be a little bit ahead of the testing, so as a result sure. I think because Mr McLaren was the author of that report and because he's Canadian, I think it's inevitable that the finger of blame is going to be directed at that country. I'm not sure it's as much Canada as much as it's the IOC saying: “We have to do something,” in that sort of exasperated tone, that I'm trying to deliver in my voice, is probably the kind of message that they're trying to deliver as well: “We have to stop this!” The problem is there's no convincing and complete way to do this and as a result it looks like certain countries are being targeted for what might have been taking place behind closed doors, so to speak.

    Sputnik: The report also notes that Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was given a political order that would lead to the ban of Russia's team, is this likely to be true or is this totally innuendo?

    Anthony Moretti: My guess is it's innuendo, saying that though, there clearly is an effort. The fairness for these athlete to me is really the big issue, and in fairness too, to the competitors as well.

    Lawyer Richard McLaren (L) takes questions after delivering his second and final part of a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), at a news conference in London, Britain December 9, 2016
    © REUTERS / Neil Hall
    Lawyer Richard McLaren (L) takes questions after delivering his second and final part of a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), at a news conference in London, Britain December 9, 2016
    Sputnik: Well I think the timing is just unbelievable, surely this should have been addressed and finalized, and sorted out weeks and months ago. Now the Court of Arbitration for Sports dismissed the appeals of 47 Russian athletes causing some to say that this will diminish competition and intention to the games. I mean it's got to diminish competition and integrity of the Games going forward.

    Anthony Moretti: I agree with what you are saying, that this should have been decided, and I'm just going to arbitrarily say December 31st, just as a date, just to put a date out there. That then gives a clear indication of who would be on the team, who might not be on the team, who my competitors will be, who my competitors might not be. Certainly for those sports in which athletes thought they were going to be there, wanted to be there ect, yes, it puts those sports in a little bit of uncertainty.

    Sputnik: Now the athletes that were not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games did not make any violations of the anti-doping rules, why were they dismissed? What is the result of this? Is it geopoliticaly motivated, it's got to be, hasn't it?

    Anthony Moretti: The IOC tries to be and desperately wants to be viewed as nonpolitical organization, but the reality is, it is a political organization. Yes, not like a political party, I accept that, but by its very nature it has to make decisions that are going to benefit certain countries, be seen as a detriment to other countries, and it tries to ensure that the Games are hosted all around the world, that is a political decision, whether it wants to acknowledge it or not. So to me, this comes back to what are the IOC's motives here, in terms of saying that certain Russian athletes should be banned. My guess is that again, we want to clean up this problem, how fast can we do it and at the same time do we think we're doing it right, however noble a goal that might be, making decisions within hours of the Games just does not seem like a wise decision for an organization that has the kind of smarts and intelligence behind it.

    President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian athletes competing in 23rd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang
    © Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi
    President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian athletes competing in 23rd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang

    Sputnik: Given how the Western media has been portraying the ban of Russian athletes, what consequences could this have for future sporting events?

    Anthony Moretti: I look at it this way, and I think if this were China, would the IOC response be the same way? If this were Germany, if this were Unites States, if this were Norway, if this were any other country in the world, and unless you can say with absolute certainty that this would have been handled in the same exact way, there are definitely going to be questions about how much integrity was associated with this investigation. I think at the end of the day the IOC's responsibility is to be as transparent as possible, and even with that, I don't know if considering how much damage has been done here on all sides, to sport as a whole, especially to the IOC, especially to Russia. I'm not sure that even an absolute transparent process is going to be enough to make people say, ok, this all makes sense. And that's the shame of it all, because at the end of the day people who might be absolutely innocent are going to be accidentally or maybe not accidentally caught up in this mess and as a result their integrity is going to come into question unfair.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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