World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) vice-president Linda Helleland has called for an "open and transparent" discussion on the Russian doping scandal and the response to the McLaren Report at the organisation’s crucial Foundation Board meeting in Seoul later this month.
Helleland, the Norwegian Minister of Culture, told insidethegames that she had urged WADA President Sir Craig Reedie and director general Olivier Niggli to ensure the issue was thoroughly debated in the South Korean capital on November 16 in an email sent to the two officials.
insidethegames understands there are concerns within some of the Foundation Board members that too little has been done by WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding Russia’s participation at Pyeongchang 2018.
Some members claim that very little has changed since the publication of the first part of the McLaren Report in July last year.
It meant a decision on Russia competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was not taken until less than two weeks before the Opening Ceremony.
Delays in the publication of two IOC investigations into Russian doping, which will be critical in deciding the extent of Russian participation at February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, have been criticised by sporting officials and National Olympic Committees in recent weeks.
It has led to fears being expressed that the situation is as it was before Rio 2016.
The IOC claimed, following an OIympic Summit meeting on Saturday (October 28), that reports from the respective Oswald and Schmid Commissions are now due to be completed by the end of this month.
A final decision will then be taken by the Executive Board at its traditional pre-Christmas meeting in Lausanne from December 5 to 7, the IOC claim.
This is still only two months before the Opening Ceremony of Pyeongchang 2018 on February 9, however.
Helleland said WADA should consider whether to recommend a full Russian ban from Pyeongchang 2018 at the meeting - as they did before Rio 2016 - based on the evidence documented in the McLaren Report or if they should be free to compete at the Olympics.
insidethegames understands some members are fearful that the issue will be swept under the carpet and not fully addressed by the WADA Foundation Board.
The 38-member body, comprised equally of representatives from the Olympic Movement and Governments, will also decide whether to declare Russia compliant at the gathering in the South Korean city.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has been non-compliant since November 2015.
"My take on this issue is that it must be discussed in an open and transparent way in Seoul and be followed up in the most appropriate manner," Helleland told insidethegames.
"That is why I have sent an email to Sir Craig Reedie and Olivier Niggli so that all information will be on the table as a basis for open discussions in order for WADA to make the most appropriate decision.
"In the e-mail, I emphasised the importance for us to look at the consequences of the McLaren Report.
"That includes the 1,000-plus cases and if WADA should recommend to the IOC and International Paralympic Committee not to allow athletes to compete under the Russian flag in South Korea, as was done for Rio in 2016.
"Or should WADA recommend that athletes from Russia that have been subjected to a testing programme under the direction of UK Anti-Doping and international experts, be permitted to compete in Pyeongchang."
Helleland, elected WADA vice-president at the WADA Foundation Board meeting in Glasgow in November 2015, claimed that she received a positive response from Sir Craig and Niggli.
"It is my understanding that both Sir Craig and Olivier want to make sure that this issue will be discussed in a proper way in Seoul," she told insidethegames.
"WADA will do everything possible to have good discussion at the meeting."