Russia have been banned from competing as a team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.

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IOC president Thomas Bach confirmed the ban on Tuesday evening in Lausanne and said Russian athletes will only be eligible to compete under a neutral flag in South Korea, much like in athletics at the last summer games in Rio in 2016.

The ban stems from a 17-month investigation, headed by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid, into widespread doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, which has seen numerous medallists banned.

As a result of the investigation, former Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko – now Vladimir Putin’s Deputy Prime Minister – has been banned from any participation in all future Olympic Games along with his former deputy Yuri Nagornykh.

Any Russian athletes ruled eligible after going through a thorough clearing process will only be allowed to compete as an ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ in a uniform bearing that name.

Should any of them claim a gold medal, they will stand on top of the podium and hear the Olympic Games anthem.

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