More than 400 Russian Olympic athletes could learn Tuesday whether they are banned from the Rio Summer Olympics.
An International Olympic Committee ruling on their fate comes after a report into doping detailed what one U.S. official called “a mind-blowing level of corruption."
The executive board of the IOC was holding a conference call on Tuesday morning to discuss what action to take after the World Anti-Doping Agency uncovered a state-run doping scheme that masked at least at least 312 positive tests.
The agency has urged a full ban of the Russian team from the Rio games, which begin in 17 days.
Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said the report concluded “beyond a reasonable doubt a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government that goes right to the field of play.”
Russia's Olympic Committee made a last-ditch appeal before the IOC ruling on Tuesday, saying it doesn't condone collective punishment of athletes — regardless of their involvement in doping,
“We completely disagree … that a possible suspension of hundreds of clean Russian athletes from the Olympic Games is an acceptable ‘unpleasant consequence’ of the allegations presented in [Monday’s] report,” it said in a statement.
“The Russian Olympic Committee fully supports the application of toughest measures against those who use banned substances or promote their use,” it said. “At the same time, the Russian Olympic Committee … will always defend the rights of clean athletes.”
Bruno Grandi, president of gymnastics' international federation, echoed that view, saying: "Blanket bans have never been and will never be just. The right to participate at the games cannot be stolen from an athlete, who has duly qualified and has not been found guilty of doping."
The IOC was due to issue a written ruling later Tuesday outlining its response to the investigation, which was commissioned by WADA and written by arbitrator Richard McLaren.
A blanket ban at Rio would exclude one of the IOC’s biggest supporters — a nation that spent more than $50 billion hosting the Winter Games in Sochi just two years ago. Russia also sent the third-largest number of athletes — more than 430 — to the previous Summer Olympics, in London in 2012.
Further complicating the ruling is that the affected athletes could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is the final authority when it comes to world sports events. That body already is considering an appeal from Russia's track and field athletes — who were previously banned after doping allegations — and is due to rule on their fate by Thursday.