ROC Q&A on topical issues on the Olympic Agenda

This material contains answers to the most important questions regarding the activities of the ROC in the context of the global crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, topics such as the postponement of the 2020 Games and related problems, as well as preparations for the proceedings by the CAS between WADA and RUSADA, were touched upon.

Does the Russian Olympic Committee support the postponement of the Games in Tokyo?

– The Russian Olympic Committee unconditionally supported the IOC at the stage of preliminary discussions already. The position of the ROC was concrete. Priorities are the health of all participants and guests of the Games, as well as the interests of athletes. The postponement of the Games for one year is the only right decision that equally suited everyone, including sports organizations and federations that needed to revise their timetables and schedule, including qualification competitions for the Olympic Games.

What amendments have been made to the ROC Program to facilitate the preparation of candidate athletes for the Tokyo Olympics?

– The program was promptly amended. Almost all expenditure commitments of the ROC were extended for one year while maintaining the same funding and the same contractual commitments that we have with our main sponsors, primarily with the ROC General Partner Gazprom.

The total amount of funding to meet the needs of the All-Russian Sports Federations in 2020-2021 under this Program was increased by 265 million rubles.

In order to optimize the funding of expenses for the preparation for Tokyo 2020, the ROC Executive Committee approved the amendments to the budgets of other programs and projects, cutting costs and sequestering individual items.

Who will receive additional financial support from the ROC?

– The high-priority task is to help our All-Russian Sports Federations as much as possible, which are responsible for all the training of the national teams. Despite the fact that the preparation process is suspended and is not in an active phase, it is very important for us that the expenditure commitments related to the salaries of foreign coaches and experts are fully executed.

In addition, the most important factor is to maintain full and effective assistance to athletes in both summer and winter sports in their preparation for the Olympic Games. In this regard, funding for the Beijing 2022 ROC Program will continue without any changes in the previously planned volumes.

The ROC also interacts with the All-Russian Sports Federation in terms of optimizing individual expenditure items. For example, such as rent for offices for the quarantine period.

Perhaps it would be more efficient to cancel the Tokyo Games at all in order to cut costs?

– The cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11 thousand athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees, as well as their rooters and fans of the Games. As part of a joint decision with the Japanese party to postpone the Games, the financial issue as a factor affecting the final verdict was not discussed.

After COVID-19 pandemic, the Games in Tokyo will be called to unite people, break down artificial barriers, form the basis of communication and understanding between countries and peoples – on the basis of equality and universal respect.

The ROC is confident that the Olympic movement around the world needs to hold the most open, positive Olympic Games without any artificial restrictions in compliance with all Olympic and universal values, as well as the rights of athletes and all members of the IOC. Games in Tokyo are designed to become a triumph of the global Olympism.

How will athletes be qualified for the postponed Games in Tokyo?

– Currently, international federations are actively conducting consultations so that in the coming days they could present their proposals on changing the qualification format for the Olympic Games. Actually, it is already now becoming clear that most federations intend to mirror the qualification system for the Games: how it was planned to be implemented in 2020, they will transferred to 2021.

More than 50 percent of athletes and federations held their qualifications. The second half of the licenses, a bit less – 43%, remains to be competed.

The ROC believes that it is extremely important to fairly treat all athletes who have participated and will participate in the Olympic qualification, as well as to ensure that the qualification scores they won in the 2019/2020 season are transferred to 2020/2021 and accordingly executed as final licenses. In addition, it is necessary to provide all opportunities for athletes to prepare for qualifications as much as possible and to get in shape after a break in training.

The Russian Olympic Committee is closely monitoring this issue and is studying approaches together with representatives of Russia in the executive governing bodies of international sports federations.

What should age athletes do for whom the postponement of the Games for a year could be crucial?

– The Russian Olympic Committee recommends that the All-Russian Sports Federation develops a flexible program for entering the season for age athletes and help prepare for the Games themselves, because it is related to the particular features of the body of each individual person. The ROC specialists and experts are ready to assist in this. Important factors are the scientific and methodological approach and the availability of the necessary experience.

Should All-Russian Sports Federations hold reporting and election conferences this year, as it was planned taking into account holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo, or can they be postponed them to the end of 2021?

– The vast majority of Olympic Sports Federations for sports included in the Summer Games program will have to hold their conferences at the end of 2020 – at the beginning of 2021 due to the expiration of the 4-year term of office of their governing and audit bodies, to which they were elected within 6 months from the end of the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

This requirement is primarily caused by the need to prevent the suspension of the activities of federations as legal entities due to termination of the term of office of their governing bodies in accordance with the requirements of the law and their charters.

At the same time, in pursuance of the provisions of Federal Law No. 329 “On Physical Culture and Sports in the Russian Federation”, summer federations will have to hold regular reporting and election conferences within 6 months from the end of the XXXII Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. In this regard, in order to avoid legal uncertainty in determining the term of office for the election of governing bodies at the end of the current – beginning of the next year, it seems advisable for the Federations, when holding the next conferences, to only extend the term of office of their governing bodies until the end of Tokyo Games in 2021.

Currently, the ROC Legal Department is conducting consultations with the Ministry of Justice of Russia to resolve this legal conflict caused by the postponement of the Games to 2021, after the elaboration of an agreed decision, it will immediately bring it to the attention of All-Russian Sports Federations.

How is doping testing performed during the lockdown period and the active spread of COVID-19 coronavirus infection?

– COVID-19 pandemic has also made adjustments to the doping test process around the world. Many national anti-doping organizations have significantly reduced or completely suspended the implementation of their anti-doping programs due to various legislative restrictions and closed borders. This is a huge challenge for the entire international anti-doping system, and the ROC hopes that the World Anti-Doping Agency will be able to quickly and effectively respond to this challenge.

At the same time, we would like to recall that over the past years Russian athletes have been the most tested athletes in the world. The firm position of the Russian Olympic Committee is that any additional requirements regarding anti-doping testing as a criterion for admission to international competitions have to apply equally to any athlete, regardless of his/her nationality.

How will admission to national and international competitions be provided for athletes who have had coronavirus infection?

– Scientists continue to study the nature of this virus and its effect on the body. As of April 2020, there are no official regulations on what grounds to admit to competitions. But this issue is being actively discussed, including at the level of experts of national anti-doping agencies of different countries.

How can such a long break in the training process affect candidate athletes for the Russian Olympic national team?

– Now for all of us, it is fundamentally important to pay as much attention as possible to our own health, to minimize, and advisably to try to completely eliminate the risk of exposure of coronavirus infection. The main task is to observe preventive and safety measures that work in the same way for everyone – both for our colleague – heads, athletes, and coaches. Therefore, according to the general requirements, it is necessary to stay at home and observe the lockdown. The ROC hopes that all potential candidates for the Olympic national teams and respected specialists are healthy.

How does the ROC perform activities during the active spread of coronavirus infection?

– The Russian Olympic Committee succeeded to switch to a new format of work without pauses and breaks under the restrictions related to the coronavirus, to technologically support all the necessary processes in order to perform the necessary activities on a daily basis in the areas under the Preparation Promotion Program for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The ROC executive office is fully transferred to remote work, with the exception of a number of specialists responsible for the operation of the ROC building and the implementation of required administrative work. The employees are provided with technological, material and technical support to perform their duties remotely.

Have you changed your plans for the ROC sporting and mass participation events due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus infection?

– According to the Olympic Charter, the mission of the national Olympic Committees is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic movement in their countries, including to promote the development of high-performance sports and mass sports.

The Russian Olympic Committee rescheduled key events of 2020. Thus, the All-Russian Olympic Day was preliminary postponed to the end of July, the International Forum of Young Olympians and the expanded Meeting of the Athletes’ Commission for November/December, the All-Russian Walking Day should be held, as previously scheduled, at the end of September.

The All-Russian Sports and Educational Project Olympic Patrol will resume its work as soon as all restrictions are lifted in the regions of the Russian Federation.

How has the postponement of the Games affected The ROC partnership and sponsorship contracts?

– The Russian Olympic Committee highly appreciates the existing partnerships and thanks the General Sponsor of the Russian Olympic Team – the global energy company Gazprom, the General Partners – Aeroflot airline and the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic Team ZASPORT, as well as the ROC Partner — Mining and Metallurgical Company “NORNICKEL” for the many years of support. We hope that also in the future, the ROC can count on their extensive support.

Contracts with our sponsors and partners cover advertising opportunities exclusively on the territory of the Russian Federation, however, there are some commitments related to ensuring the participation of the Russian Olympic Team in the Tokyo Games that

could not be fulfilled due to the postponement of the Olympic Games. We have a lot of joint work to do on review and transfer these commitments to a new period to ensure the best conditions for Russian athletes to perform at the most significant global sports event.

How are things going with the preparation for the CAS proceedings between WADA and RUSADA, where the ROC is a third party?

– The Swiss lawyer Claude Ramoni, who represents the interests of the ROC in this case, continues to prepare rationale for the official position of the Russian Olympic Committee, which acts as a third party. Despite the unbiased difficulties all parties to these proceedings faced due to restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, the work to protect the rights and interests of the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian athletes has not been stopped and has been performed on a daily basis. The indicated document with the legal position of the ROC will be sent to the CAS by the end of April.

It is premature to dwell in more detail on the arguments that the ROC plans to present in its defense and in defense of the Russian athletes due to the confidentiality requirements of the arbitration procedure with the CAS until a final ruling is made.

At the same time, the ROC considers it necessary to emphasize the position previously stated by us that any decisions aimed at restricting the admission of Russian athletes to participate in major international competitions are inherently discriminatory and illegal, and therefore must be quashed.

Can the potential sanctions on the performance of the Russian national team without a flag be extended to three Olympics – Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 – due to the postponement of the Tokyo Games?

– The ROC is absolutely convinced that any consequences of the non-compliance of the RAA RUSADA with the World Anti-Doping Code (even in the case of an unfavorable ruling of the CAS) will, under no circumstances, extend to the three Olympics.

In what format is the Athletes’s Commission of the ROC working now and what activities does it perform?

– The Athletes’s Commission of the ROC actively maintains remote communication with all members, including the topical issues of the current sports agenda are discussed online. The members of the Commission participate in international conference calls organized by the Athletes’ Commission of the IOC, in which the athletes are provided with the most relevant information on the situation related to the spread of COVID-19 and the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the near future it is planned to hold an online meeting of the Athletes’ Commission of the ROC, which will address the most pressing current issues. Work is underway with Athletes365 Internet Portal on the possibility to organize Career + educational courses for Russian athletes.

All latest news and the most relevant information is communicated to active Russian athletes through social networks, and is also published on the official website of the ROC.