Russia out of Winter Olympics, will appeal

There will be no Russian flags or anthem at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang in February following a decision by the International Olympic Committee.

Russia will launch an appeal to its ban from February's Winter Olympics but proven clean athletes will still be allowed to compete. Photo: AAP

Russia will launch an appeal to its ban from February's Winter Olympics but proven clean athletes will still be allowed to compete. Photo: AAP

An IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in connection with systematic doping practices in the country, including manipulation of samples at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

It handed a life ban from the Games to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, the sports minister in 2014, and chief organiser of next year's soccer World Cup.

Russia has also been handed a $US15 million-dollar fine to pay for investigations and fund future anti-doping measures.

ROC president Alexander Zhukov said on Tuesday that Russian athletes will appeal the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

But the IOC said individual Russian athletes can compete as neutrals under the label "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)" in South Korea, providing they meet certain guidelines such as not having previous anti-doping violations and having undergone targeted testing.

"This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

"The IOC executive board, after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes.

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by (World Anti-Doping Agency) WADA."

Russia has continually denied all allegations against it and opened a criminal case against former Moscow anti-doping lab chief Grigory Rodchenkov, a whistleblower who now lives in the United States.

Zhukov told Russian media a meeting would take place on December 12 to decide whether eligible Russian athletes will take up the invitation to compete as neutrals.

The Pyeongchang organising committee said they would be welcome to attend.

"We accept and respect the decisions of the IOC executive board that Russia may compete under a neutral flag," it said.

"We will work with the IOC and all other relevant stakeholders accordingly to ensure that all the athletes and officials attending the Games as part of this team are given the best experience possible."

A statement made by Rodchenkov's lawyers said: "As the world has seen, Dr Rodchenkov provided credible and irrefutable evidence of the Russian state-sponsored doping system, which was ultimately supervised and financed by then-Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko and other high-level government officials."

The IOC has banned 25 Russians for life from the Games and stripped 11 Sochi medallists of their honours.

The Russian state broadcaster immediately said on Tuesday that it would no longer show the Games on television due to the ban.

Bach, however, said boycotts did not work and in this case was unnecessary as clean athletes were permitted to compete.