Swimming's governing body in turmoil over Olympic doping decisions

Swimming's governing body in turmoil over Olympic dope vetting: report
Swimming's governing body in turmoil over Olympic dope vetting: report

London (AFP) - Three top anti-doping officials have quit the watchdog of world swimming body FINA saying their recommendations on whether Russian swimmers should compete at the Rio Olympics were ignored.

The three, including Andrew Pipe, a Canadian who headed FINA's eight member doping control review board (DCRB), blasted the governing body. FINA said it "regrets" the resignations but insisted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided whether the Russians should be allowed to race.

"Despite the anti-doping expertise of the individuals who make up the DCRB, FINA chose to ignore our advice," said a resignation letter obtained by Irish broadcaster RTE.

"We learned of FINA's decisions regarding the eligibility of Russian competitors only by observing the Olympic competition.

"We were disappointed to note that our recommendations were not followed - and even more disappointed to receive no specific response to a subsequent written request for information regarding the reasons for FINA's decision."

FINA originally barred seven Russian swimmers from Rio following a report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that alleged state-run doping in Russia.

However they were reinstated following appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport or reviews by an IOC panel just before Rio started.

"FINA was surprised to receive the letter of resignation from three officials from its Doping Control Review Board (DCRB), including the chairman Dr. Andrew Pipe," said a FINA statement.

"While FINA obviously regrets this decision, our international federation expresses its deep appreciation and recognition for their supportive action in our successful anti-doping policies over the recent years."

Following the McLaren report, the IOC called on individual federations to make recommendations to its review panel on whether Russian athletes should be allowed at Rio.

FINA blamed the IOC for the final decision on Russian athletes.

"Concerning the claims expressed in their resignation letter, FINA would like to clarify that the Olympic Games are an IOC event," said the statement.

"For Rio 2016, the decision on the participation of the Russian athletes has been made by the CAS and the IOC."

It added that: "In this very complex process, FINA did express the DCRB position but our international federation was not the body ultimately deciding the outcome on this matter."

According to the RTE report, the DCRB were as hardline as a team who conducted a review for the international rowing federation and said all Russian competitors should be barred unless they have passed credible doping tests.

The presence of the Russian swimmers, such as Yulia Efimova, who has served two doping bans, caused controversy in the Rio pool.

Efimova was booed by spectators and American Lilly King, who beat her in the 100m breaststroke final, said Efimova should not have been allowed to race.