Sir Hugh Robertson (second right) has vowed to support the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation in any decision made ©Getty Images

New British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Sir Hugh Robertson has vowed to fully support national bobsleigh and skeleton officials as they discuss whether to withdraw from February's World Championships in Sochi.

The former Government Minister also called for Russia to admit that they have a doping problem and wholeheartedly commit to sorting it out.

He was speaking after last week's McLaren Report produced damning evidence of a drugs manipulation scheme in which more than 1,000 Russian athletes are thought to have been implicated at events including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Sir Hugh, who replaced Sebastian Coe as BOA chairman last month, called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to begin their process to sanction athletes implicated in the scheme.

He said it was "not his place to be leading the charge" in response to a question about whether Russia should be allowed to participate at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

But he appeared to rule out any sort of British boycott of the event if Russia does compete on the grounds that, in his view, sporting boycotts "do not really work" and that it is better to inflict pressure at the governance level.

"I think the really important thing here is that Russia admits they have a problem and decide that they are going to sort it out," Sir Hugh, who was involved with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as Sports Minister, added here today.

"If that is done, I think it can be sorted out reasonably quickly.

"If that is not done and they continue to claim the report is all some sort of plot of the west, then it could take longer."

Lizzy Yarnold, the only British Olympic champion in any event at Sochi 2014, is considering boycotting the IBSF World Championships ©Getty Images
Lizzy Yarnold, the only British Olympic champion in any event at Sochi 2014, is considering boycotting the IBSF World Championships ©Getty Images

The British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association (BBSA) have decided to wait for an announcement from the world governing body - the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) - before making any final decision on whether to participate at the World Championships, which are due to take place in Sochi from February 13 to 26.

Latvian skeleton athletes have already confirmed they will miss the event if it is not moved from the Russian coastal resort while Lizzy Yarnold, Britain's only Olympic champion at Sochi 2014, has revealed that she is considering a boycott.

Sir Hugh "absolutely" understands the skeleton champion's reasoning and "highly understands" why she feels as she does.

He has vowed to talk and work alongside the BBSA - a BOA member - as they work towards a decision.

Britain's four-man bobsleigh team finished fifth behind two Russian crews in Sochi.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggested winter International Federations "freeze" their preparations for all events in Russia in July before publicly extending this recommendation last week.

But IOC President Thomas Bach appeared to suggest last week that the event will stay there.

"I’m not only confident but I’m sure that the IBSF together with the World Anti-Doping Agency will do everything to ensure their reliable and compliant anti-doping programme during this Championship so the athletes then have confidence," he said.