Russian federal TV channels may refuse to broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics from South Korean Pyeongchang should the Russian delegation be suspended, the Vedomosti newspaper wrote.
For the time being, Russia's three major TV channels - Channel One, Rossiya-1 (part of VGTRK) and Match TV (part of Gazprom Media) plan to broadcast Winter Olympics from South Korea. Yet, if the Russian national team is excluded from the Games, Channel One and Rossiya-1 will most likely refuse to broadcast the Olympics.
Naturally, Russian people watch Olympic Games to support Russian athletes in the first place. If no Russian athletes take part in the Games, the audience of the major sports event of this winter will decease sharply, representatives of the above-mentioned channels say. It makes no sense for major channels to pay millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast the Games, if they make no money from advertising because of low ratings.
Representatives of the VGTRK tele and radio corporation confirmed that the company would no be broadcasting the Winter Olympics if Russian athletes are suspended from the Games in South Korea.
Match TV, as a sports channel, will most likely be able to collect enough ratings even without Russian athletes, but there is a high probability that the channel will not air the 2018 Winter Olympic Games either.
It could also be possible that the Russian authorities will make a political decision forcing TV channels to boycott the Winter Olympics if the national team is not allowed to participate in the competitions.
The decision on the admission of the Russian team is to be announced on December 5-7.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's official spokesman, told reporters Thursday that the Russian Olympic team continues preparing for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, despite the situation around the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
"Naturally, we intend to continue our contacts with the international sports community and organizations to defend Russia's position. We are preparing for the Olympic Games," Peskov said.
Peskov also commented on the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to refuse to fully reinstate the status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
"This is certainly unpleasant information. We disagree with this decision. We believe it is unfair," Peskov said, adding that Moscow "denied and strongly denies accusations of state support for doping."
To have its rights reinstated, RUSADA needs to recognise the findings of the infamous McLaren report, which establishes the existence of a state system of doping support in Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"We proceed from the recent statement by Thomas Bach, who said that this decision of WADA is not directly related to the issue of the Olympic Games," the presidential press secretary said.
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