Canada plan to miss Biathlon World Cup events in Russia ©Getty Images

Canada have reportedly announced a boycott of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup Finals in March if the event is not removed from its current location of Tyumen in Russia.

This has been reported by Norwegian broadcaster NRK after they obtained a letter sent by Biathlon Canada President Murray Wylie to IBU counterpart Anders Besseberg and general secretary Nicole Resch.

The letter argues that the holding of high-level events in Russia is "inconsistent" with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to make Russian athletes compete under a neutral flag at Pyeongchang 2018 follow evidence of a "systemic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at events, including Sochi 2014.

It was announced following an IBU Executive Board meeting on Sunday (December 10) that the Russian Biathlon Union had relegated to being a provisional member of the IBU due to the "substantial number of recent doping convictions" and to encourage a more active response.

This did not mean Russia is unable to host events, however, or send athletes to compete under their own flag.

As well as the World Cup Finals scheduled for March 20 to 25, Russia is also still due to host two legs of the second tier IBU Cup, in Uvat from March 9 to 11 and in Khanty Mansiysk from March 13 to 17.

"Biathlon Canada notes with distress IBU Cups 7 & 8, as well as World Cup 9, of the current 2017-18 season remain allocated to venues in Russia," reads the Canadian letter, as published by NRK.

"It is the position of our Federation that: 

  • the occurrence the high-level IBU events in Russia is inconsistent with the IOC decision of December 5 to disallow participation by the Russian team in the Pyeongchang Olympics.
  • the integrity of anti-doping procedures in Russia is still very much uncertain, given the current situation in which RUSADA remains non-compliant with WADA.

"For these specific reasons, Biathlon Canada will not be sending teams to the events, mentioned above, in Russia later this season."

The Canadian letter was sent to IBU President Anders Besseberg ©Getty Images
The Canadian letter was sent to IBU President Anders Besseberg ©Getty Images

The letter added: "While Biathlon Canada is appreciative of the work done by the IBU in handling cases of doping by Russian athletes, it is our consideration that holding IBU-sanctioned events in Russia at this time is inconsistent with 'efforts to protect clean athletes' as stated by Mr Besseberg in the IBU press release of December 6,

"We also note, with much frustration, we are in a situation today remarkably similar to that of one year ago.

"Biathlon Canada urges the IBU to take clear and demonstrative action in this matter."

Three Russian biathletes have so far been retrospectively disqualified by the IOC for alleged involvement in doping at Sochi 2014 - Yana Romanova, Olga Vilukhina and Olga Zaitseva.

All three had formed part of the Russian 4x6km relay quartet that won the Olympic silver medal. 

Ekaterina Iourieva and Irina Starykh each also failed tests for erythropoietin in the build-up to Sochi 2014.

Russia have already been stripped in February of the rights to host the 2021 IBU World Championships in Tyumen as the doping scandal intensified. 

NRK report that other nations are considering following Canada and also announcing their withdrawal from events in Russia.

They quoted Besseberg as responding by saying, "nobody is forcing anyone to go anywhere". 

The incident is bound to overshadow the World Cup leg due to begin tomorrow in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand.

Action is due to commence in the French resort with a women's 7.5 kilometres sprint event tomorrow.

Competition should then continue until Sunday (December 17).