Beckie Scott, a former member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, has called for Russia to be issued with more than a fine by the IOC ©Getty Images

Fining Russia rather than restricting their participation at next year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang would be a "superficial gesture" rather than a genuine punishment, according to the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Committee.

Two International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commissions led by Samuel Schmid and Denis Oswald are currently investigating allegations of institutional doping in Russia and are trying to meet an October deadline to complete their work.

Decisions on how to sanction Russian performances at Sochi 2014 and restrict their participation at Pyeongchang 2018 will be made following the completion of their work. 

The Commissions were set up in response to evidence in the McLaren Report published last July alleging that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were implicated in the manipulating and tampering of samples at events, including Sochi 2014. 

It was reported today by Press Association that the IOC are understood to be close to issuing a large fine rather than any sort of suspension from Pyeongchang 2018. 

According to "senior anti-doping officials" quoted anonymously in the article, the IOC and Russia have "already agreed the terms of the sanctions".

Olympic gold medallist Beckie Scott claimed a fine would not be enough of a punishment.

"I think a fine is a bit of a superficial gesture," the Canadian, winner of an Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing at Salt Lake City 2002, told insidethegames here today.

"To be honest, I think there’s a large percentage of athletes who still feel that, for such a massive scale of corruption and defrauding of the Olympic Games, there was no real consequence of substance [last year].

"Russia still competed in Rio, they competed under their own flag, they brought home medals.

"From an Athletes' Commission perspective, that was not okay.

"I think that the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) did the appropriate thing [to suspend Russia], when faced with such a scale of massive corruption and undermining of sport. 

"They did the only thing and that was to revoke the right to participate."

Russia have been accused of manipulating doping samples during Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images
Russia have been accused of manipulating doping samples during Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

The IOC have rejected reports that they have taken any decisions on what punishment to give to Russia. 

When asked if she feels that Winter International Federations are taking the McLaren Report seriously enough, Scott said: "I think the IAAF is the one IF (International Federation) that did the right thing".

Mixed messages appear to be coming out of the IOC and its President Thomas Bach at the moment.

On the one hand, they are appearing to pave the ground for a stricter punishment if, as expected, the IOC investigations confirm that samples were illegally tampered with at Sochi 2014. 

On the other, they appear to be giving figures in Russia and elsewhere confidence that only a fine and bans against those athletes directly linked with doping will be issued - so long as no further evidence comes to light.

insidethegames has been told that figures in Russia have made it clear to the IOC that they will refuse to compete neutrally and will boycott the Games if they are not allowed to participate under their own flag.

Unlike the IAAF and IPC, the IOC opted against any blanket suspension of Russia at Rio 2016 soon after the McLaren Report was published last year, instead merely rubber-stamping eligibility decisions made by individual International Federations. 

"Any reporting on the possible conclusions of the IOC Commissions is pure speculation," the IOC added in a statement.

"The IOC has set up two Commissions led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, and IOC member Denis Oswald. 

"Their work is ongoing and no conclusion has been made."

IOC President Thomas Bach, left, pictured at the Opening Ceremony of Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images
IOC President Thomas Bach, left, pictured at the Opening Ceremony of Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

A final decision is expected to be made by the IOC Executive Board rather than the full membership, although it would presumably be ratified by the latter body at their Session in Pyeongchang immediately before the Olympics.

Scott also said that, if a fine was issued by the IOC to Russia, the money should "absolutely" be given to WADA and spent on anti-doping work.

"It would not be superficial in this case," Scott, a former member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, quipped.

Scott was speaking here following a WADA Athlete Committee meeting at which a wish was expressed for "more transparency when it comes to Russia and what is happening".

They also called for "more statistics of testing and what they and RUSADA are doing" and "more clarity on closed cities and access to them".

"We also heard today from the Athlete Committee and different Commissions that Russia needs to take responsibility for what happened," added WADA deputy director general Rob Koehler to insidethegames.

"We are getting information that it will happen, but we will see."

Koehler did, though, praise Russian Athletics Federation President Dmitry Shlyakhtin after he apologised to "all athletes who had gold and silver medals snatched from them" during a speech to the IAAF Congress here last week.

"It was pretty significant actually that he came out and apologised for what they had done in Russia," Koehler said.

"It was seen by the IAAF Taskforce as significant as well. 

"It is a step in the right direction."