Vitaly Mutko has claimed Russia will "do everything to fight for the integrity and cleanliness of sport” ©Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has claimed the country will “do everything to fight for the integrity and cleanliness of sport” after avoiding a blanket ban from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today deferred the decision on whether Russian competitors can take part in Brazil to the individual International Federations (IFs).

This decision was unanimous although any athlete who has ever been banned for doping - even if they have served their sanction - won't be allowed to compete.

Mutko, who has been under increasing pressure after being implicated in the Richard McLaren Report into state sponsored Russian doping, has praised the IOC's decision.

“The IOC considered the rights of each sportsman and considered those were clean from doping, who are full of integrity, to participate,” Mutko told Sky News.

“They recognised that right and this was the only decision for the Olympic Family.

“Doping is a worldwide evil, not only of Russia.

“We can cope with the problem only by joining efforts of international and state institutions.

“The public opinion, as to the accusations addressed to the Russian team, are very tough but it is a good warning to our team.

“Russia will do everything to fight for the integrity and cleanliness of sport, we will work to do this with the International Olympic Committee.”

Athletes from Russia will have to adhere to a series of “strict criteria” to be cleared to represent their country at the Games.

The IOC has called on the IFs to "carry out an individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests".

It is unclear how all of this will be achieved in time with the Rio Opening Ceremony taking place on August 5.

Vitaly Mutko believes the doping controversy in Russia has been a
Vitaly Mutko believes the doping controversy in Russia has been a "good warning" to their athletes ©Getty Images

The McLaren Report, released on Monday (July 18) in Toronto, outlined a state-sponsored Russian doping scheme during their home Winter Olympics in Sochi two years ago, and also indicated doping offences in a string of summer sports.

This followed revelations of systemic cheating in athletics which had already led to Russia's track and field team being barred from next month’s Olympic Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld this decision last week, while Russia could also still face a ban from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. 

This is because the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has opened suspension proceedings against the Russian National Paralympic Committee for "failing to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations".

Many had called for a blanket ban on the Russian team - including the World Anti-Doping Agency - but Russia accused western powers of orchestrating a political witch-hunt against them and repeatedly insisted that a collective punishment would be unfair on clean athletes.

The IOC have agreed with that argument today, putting "individual justice" at the centre of their decision.

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov, who had been invited to speak at the IOC Executive Board meeting today, has claimed the IOC have made an “informed decision”.

“Yesterday we heard a lot of different voices, including those of the WADA, that Russia should be suspended from participation in the Olympics,” he told the Russian news agency TASS.

“The pressure in the Western media has been very strong, but the IOC Executive Board nevertheless accepted, in my opinion, an informed decision.

"We intend to reform the anti-doping system in such a manner to create insurmountable barriers for those wishing to win dishonest, fraudulent practices.

“We will be glad if our foreign colleagues help us in this task."