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VGTRK to refrain from Pyeongchang 2018 coverage after IOC verdict

Russian state broadcaster VGTRK has said it will not televise the 2018 winter Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban Team Russia from next year’s event in Pyeongchang.

The IOC yesterday (Tuesday) delivered its verdict on Russia’s status at Pyeongchang 2018 amid the ongoing doping scandal surrounding sport in the country.

The IOC elected to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee and invite Russian athletes to Pyeongchang 2018, but only under strict conditions. The invited athletes will participate under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)”. They will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag. The Olympic Anthem will be played in any medal ceremony.

VGTRK has previously threatened action should it disagree with the IOC’s verdict. Its press service said in a statement reported by state news agency Tass: “We do not change our position. We will not broadcast the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in the absence of the Russian National Team there.”

The Telesport agency holds rights in Russia to next year’s Games in Pyeongchang, along with the 2020, 2022 and 2024 events, in a deal struck with the IOC. A sublicensing agreement for Pyeongchang 2018 has yet to be agreed.

Russia was the only European territory excluded from media group Discovery Communication’s 50-territory deal for Olympic Games rights across Europe from 2018 to 2024.