Fancy Bears have attempted to blow open the split between WADA and the IOC ©Fancy Bears

Russian-linked hacking group Fancy Bears are attempting to highlight tensions between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a supposed "Anglo-Saxon" lobby headed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

In a series of leaked emails dating largely from 2016 and early 2017 which were published today, the hacking group claim they have shown how "European and the Anglo-Saxons are fighting for power and cash in the sports world". 

They chiefly focus on correspondence within the IOC and between the organisation and WADA and USADA officials, over the subject of Russian doping and anti-doping reforms. 

"The genuine intentions of the coalition headed by the Anglo-Saxons are much less noble than a war against doping," claim the hacking group, who have been linked to the Russian Intelligence Services by reports in the US.

"It is apparent that the Americans and the Canadians are eager to remove the Europeans from the leadership in the Olympic movement and to achieve political dominance of the English-speaking nations. 

"Moreover, they are looking toward depriving Lausanne's old corrupt officials of access to multimillion funds and bribes that form an integral part of the sports world."

In an email dated March 7, 2017, IOC director of legal relations, Howard Stupp, speculates that the first WADA-commissioned report by Richard McLaren, published in July 2016, was "intended to lead to the complete expulsion of the Russian team from the Rio Games" and the second report, published in December 2016, to "expulse [sic] the Russian team from the Pyeongchang Games". 

"Perhaps RM [McLaren] and WADA should have thought this through in more detail prior to the reports being made public," Stupp adds, according to the leaks, in an email sent to officials including IOC director general Christophe de Kepper and medical and scientific director, Richard Budgett.

"In particular to themselves to have had the courtesy to discuss this matter of principle with the IOC in further detail, before WADA went down the path of using the first report to try to have the Russian team excluded from the Rio Games, rather than RM and WADA considering to go down the path that the IOC intended to take, namely, to deal with the individual athletes on a cases-by-case basis."

Leaked correspondence is highlighted between Richard McLaren and the IOC ©Getty Images
Leaked correspondence is highlighted between Richard McLaren and the IOC ©Getty Images

Similar divisions are also highlighted by emails between the IOC Athletes' Commission, chaired by United States' Angela Ruggiero, and the WADA Athlete Committee, chaired by Canadian Beckie Scott. 

Another email chain between de Kepper and USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun is claimed to show how the latter body wanted to remove the IOC's influence over anti-doping matters.

"If you believe that our input should not conflict with the IOC's desired outcome in any respect, I think that kind of defeats the point of providing input," Blackmun writes, according to the leaks, in an email dated March 11 following a public statement on anti-doping matters.

"We have tried to offer our input respectfully but with the understanding that it must reflect the views of our most important constituents, American athletes."

De Kepper responded on March 11 that there was one "problematic" and "fundamental" point in USOC's statement that they opposed.

"USOC is pleading for WADA to have sanctioning powers and we strongly disagree with this," he supposedly said.

"The same organisation cannot be legislator, police and judge at the same time. 

"Recent history has shown where this can lead even more so if it is a political body with only limited cultural and geographical diversity in its boards."

But the Fancy Bears' leaks do not really reveal anything that was not already known.

The IOC and WADA frequently disagreed in public over this period while the respective positions of both the IOC and USOC on sanctioning powers was also known.

The IOC significantly tightened their cyber-security later in 2017, so it is possible that Fancy Bears have not been able to find information from a later period. 

Correspondence between the IOC and USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun is also published ©Getty Images
Correspondence between the IOC and USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun is also published ©Getty Images

Fancy Bears also highlight supposed links between members of McLaren's investigating team and both the US and British intelligence community.

One other interesting nugget about the Russian investigation revealed by the leaks concerns an undated email sent by Denis Oswald, the chair of one of the IOC investigations, in early 2017 referring to problems in proving doping cases against individual Russian athletes.

"For me it is clear that the 28 B samples have to be split and analysed," Oswald wrote to Stupp.

"The scratches are not enough."

Results of these retests have not yet been published by the IOC, but it has been reported in Russia that one adverse finding resulted from bobsledder Maxim Belugin.

He is one of the 43 athletes retrospectively disqualified from Sochi 2014 by the IOC, but no reasoned explanation has yet been published.

IOC cases against the other 42 - all of which are due to be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport later this month - are based around scratches on urine samples indicative of tampering as well as salt and DNA analysis and testimony from ex-Moscow Laboratory chief turned whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov.

Both the IOC and USOC declined to comment in response to the alleged Fancy Bears leaks.