03:02 GMT +321 January 2020
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    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering reportedly several possible penalties against Russia in response to doping violations, including barring the country's national anthem at the next Winter Olympics.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —  According to New York Times, The IOC officials are also weighing other options such as imposing hefty fines or expelling athletes who engaged in doping, adding that less severe penalties are also being considered.

    Top officials at the IOC could also ban Russia's athletes from taking part in the opening ceremony at the games in the South Korean resort town of Pyeongchang, or force them to compete under a neutral flag or wear neutral uniforms, the US media outlet reported monday, citing its sources with knowledge of the talks over potential penalties.

    Previously, Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov told Sputnik that Russia would refuse to participate in the 2018 Winter Games if its athletes are forced to compete under a neutral flag.

    Possible IOC Penalties Against Russian National Team — 'Provocation'

    The Russian senior lawmaker Mikhail Degtyarev commented on Monday that US media’s reports about the IOC's considering penalties against Russia’s national team at the next Winter Olympics were a provocation aimed to demoralize the Russian national team.

    "The provocation by the New York Times newspaper is aimed at demoralizing the Russian national team, all sports officials, as well as exerting pressure on our country and the International Olympic Committee. The adoption of a so to speak ‘halfway’ decision, i.e. allowing athletes to compete under a neutral flag and without a national anthem, in my opinion, is unacceptable… This is humiliating our country," the chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's sports committee said.

    Earlier, The IOC established two commissions to decide on appropriate sanctions and measures, one led by IOC member Denis Oswald, tasked with re-verifying doping probes of Russian athletes from 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, another one headed by former President of Switzerland Samuel Schmid and focused on the alleged involvement of the Russian Ministry of Sport and some other Russian government agencies in doping abuse among the country's athletes.

    In December, the International Olympic Committee opened disciplinary proceedings against 28 Russian athletes who took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after the World Anti-Doping Agency's independent commission, headed by Richard McLaren, exposed alleged state-sponsored doping.

    Russian officials have refuted the allegations of state-sponsored doping, while admitting that Russian sports had some issues with doping abuse. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that Russia's non-admission to the Olympic Games would have a negative effect on the Olympic movement.

    The IOC is expected to decide on whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the 2018 Olympics in December.


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    neutral flag, doping scandal, national anthem, ban, 2018 Winter Olympics, IOC, Russia, South Korea
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