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TSN Senior Correspondent

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The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) is calling for Russian athletes to be banned from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The CCES said in a news release distributed Thursday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should ban Russia from the Games because it has not addressed the criticisms levelled in November by an independent commission convened to scrutinize doping in the country.

“The IAAF is due to report on Russia’s eligibility for the Rio Olympics on June 17,” CCES chief executive Paul Melia said in the release. “The clean athletes of the world are watching to see if it will exercise real leadership and do the right thing for clean sport.”

The CCES, which is independent of the Canadian Olympic Committee, oversees drug testing mostly of Olympic and Canadian university and college athletes.

Beckie Scott, an Olympic gold medalist and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) board, also supported the ban on Russian athletes at Rio.

“Clean athletes’ rights to a level playing field need to be protected by those who govern sport,” Scott said in the CCES release. “This crisis represents an opportunity for the IOC and the IAAF to demonstrate to clean athletes their resolve to rid sport of doping cheats.”

The CCES’s call for a ban comes in the wake of a New York Times report published Thursday that detailed allegations of systemic doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Times reported that dozens of Russian athletes who competed in Sochi, including at least 15 medal winners, were part of a state-run doping program.

The Times report is based largely on evidence from Grigory Rodchenkov, who was director of the country's anti-doping laboratory during the Sochi Games.

Rodchenkov told The Times that 14 members of Russia's cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders, who won two gold medals, were doping in Sochi.

Russian anti-doping experts and members of the intelligence services secretly broke into tamper-proof bottles to replace urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, the Times reported, citing Rodchenkov.

The Times story comes on the heels of a report that was broadcast on Sunday by the U.S. news program 60 Minutes that further heightened concerns about Russia’s alleged doping crisis. 60 Minutes reported a former low-level employee at Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency named Vitaly Stepanov had sent more than 200 emails and letters to the WADA advising its staff about systemic doping in Russia.

The news program also reported that Rodchenkov knew of at least four Russian gold medalists who were using performance-enhancing drugs. Rodchenkov admitted his lab covered up the drug tests results and that Russian intelligence was involved in the testing.

On Wednesday, CBS News reported the FBI was investigating the allegations.

In November, Canadian Richard Pound, who helped to found WADA in 1999 and was its president until 2007, led an investigation into allegations that Russian sports were facing a doping crisis.

Pound reported that Russia’s secret service impersonated lab engineers during the Winter Games in Sochi, and that one lab destroyed more than 1,400 samples. The 323-page report also charged that some Russian athletes had bribed anti-doping authorities to secure favourable results, and that sports officials swapped out urine samples that had traces of PEDs for ones that were clean.

“It’s worse than we thought,” Pound said in November. “This as an old attitude from the Cold War days.”

"Dick Pound’s commission uncovered egregious breaches of the Code and since then, there has been no credible indication that the situation has been resolved – the update this week by WADA confirms that the shortcomings continue,” Melia said in the CCES release.

During the months following Pound’s report, Russia has been caught up in further scandals related to PEDs.

In March, WADA confirmed that more than 60 athletes, including Russian gold-medal winning speed skater Semion Elistratov, and Russian world champion speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov had tested positive this year for meldonium, a drug developed in Latvia for heart patients that aids blood flow and is on WADA’s banned substance list. Tennis star Maria Sharapova also tested positive for the drug.

Most of the 60 athletes who have tested positive this year for meldonium have not been identified because their cases are still being adjudicated.