Russia's state-sponsored doping scheme constitutes an "unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport", the IOC chief Thomas Bach said Tuesday.
Bach was speaking after Russia were banned from the 2018 Olympics on Tuesday over state-sponsored doping. However, Russian competitors would be able to compete under the Olympic flag as neutral athletes, the IOC said.
READ: IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics
Bach explained: "The IOC EB (Executive Board), after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes."
The IOC announced the decision after examining evidence of state-sponsored doping over several years that reached a high-point at the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
Nations have in the past been barred from taking part in the Olympics, notably South Africa during the apartheid years, but none has ever been handed a ban over doping.
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