Russia will not be totally banned from Rio 2016 following the country’s doping scandal.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.
The IOC decision follows a report in which Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program from 2011 to 2015.
The Rio Olympic Games start on August 5.
Russian competitors who want to take part in the Games will have to meet strict criteria laid down by the IOC.
Any Russian who has served a doping ban will not be eligible for next month’s Olympics. Track and field athletes have already been banned.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
“I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete.”
IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban came after a three-hour meeting of the body’s executive board, and reaction came quickly.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the decision as “objective” but “very tough”, while the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claimed the IOC had “refused to take decisive leadership”.
The 28 individual federations now have just 12 days to “carry out an individual analysis of each competitor’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of each sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field”.
The International Tennis Federation quickly confirmed on July 24 that Russia’s seven nominated tennis players meet the IOC requirements, having been subjected to “a rigorous anti-doping testing program outside Russia”.
Russia’s full Olympic team would consist of 387 competitors.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already ruled that Russian track and field athletes will not compete at the Games, a decision which was upheld on July 21 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe said: “The IAAF team are ready to offer advice to any International Sports Federations given our experience and what we have learned over the last eight months.”
World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie said previously that his organization, which commissioned the McLaren report, wanted the IOC to “decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.
The IOC also confirmed it will not allow whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete as a neutral athlete in Rio.
Yulia Stepanova has previously failed a doping test and also did not satisfy the IOC’s “ethical requirements”.
The statement added: “The executive board would like to express its appreciation for Mrs. Stepanova’s contribution to the fight against doping and to the integrity of sport.”
The IOC was “expressing its gratitude” to Yulia Stepanova by inviting her and her husband to Rio as guests.
USADA chief Travis Tygart described the decision to exclude Yulia Stepanova as “incomprehensible”, adding it will “undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward”.
Russia will remain banned from track and field events at this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping program.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the IAAF.
However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled the suspension can stand.
A handful of Russian athletes could still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on August 5.
“It’s sad but rules are rules,” said Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, who will be chasing more gold medals in Rio.
Usain Bolt said it was important to send a strong message to the dopers.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva – one of the 68 to appeal to CAS – said the ruling was “a blatant political order”.
The 2012 gold medalist, 34, told the Tass news agency: “Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was “pleased CAS has supported its position”, adding that the judgement had “created a level playing field for athletes”.
IAAF president Lord Coe added: “This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing.
“Beyond Rio, the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”
Separately, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering calls to ban all Russian competitors across all sports from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping.
Some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside their homeland.
At least two – 800m runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina – have gone down that path.
Now the CAS ruling has cleared the way for more to follow.
CAS said the ROC could still nominate athletes to compete as neutrals. However, there appears to be little time for athletes to comply with the criteria.
Russia was suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that showed a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko apologized for Russia’s failure to catch the cheats but stopped short of admitting the scandal had been state-sponsored.
However, another WADA-commissioned report delivered earlier this week – the McLaren report – contained more damaging allegations and suggested senior figures in Russia’s sports ministry were complicit in an organized cover-up.
The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.
Following July 18 publication of the McLaren report, the IOC faced calls to ban all Russian competitors from the 2016 Olympics and will hold an second emergency meeting on July 24 to decide its course of action.
The Russian authorities have already suggested that they will look at ways to continue legal action.
Following the ruling, sports minister Vitaly Mutko said CAS had set “a certain precedent” by punishing a collective group for doping offences by individuals.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The principle of collective responsibility cannot be acceptable. The news is not very good.”