THE International Olympic Committee is to convene today to consider whether to ban Russia from next month’s Games in Rio after a devastating analysis of the country’s sporting ecosystem confirmed what most have suspected for decades: that is corrupt and corrosive with the government and its security services complicit in a culture of cheating sanctioned at the very highest levels of power.

In short, March’s investigatory revelations from the World Anti-Doping Agency that uncovered “systematic state-sponsored doping” in Russian athletics were a mere appetiser compared to the 91-page banquet served up yesterday in Toronto by respected Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. Not only did it present evidence that officials were ordered to cover up 46 positive drugs test ahead of London 2012, it found that similar scullduggery – authorised directly by its Ministry of Sport – had been employed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow in a bid to conceal the sheer scale of the country’s transgressions.

McLaren, who said he had “unwavering confidence” in his findings, used computer data, scientific analysis and forensic work to substantiate claims from the former director of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, that tainted urine samples had been covertly substituted with clean vials to protect a system that promoted the use of banned performance-enhancing substances, including steroids.

Analysing a random sample of supposedly tamper-proof bottles from Sochi that had been used for testing Russians, it was found that “100 per cent” had been compromised with scratch marks found around the seals. “The analytical result,” he said, “showed the contents of the urine were tampered with because there was excessive salt that with normal human excretion wouldn’t occur.”

If track and field’s ban from Rio has set a precedent, then its sporting sisters will now surely follow suit. At least 312 so-called ‘Disappearing Positives’ were discovered across the board with athletics followed by weightlifting on a roll of dishonour that takes in 29 different sports, plus unspecified disciplines in Paralympics and non-Olympic sports. The falsified results dating back to 2011, McLaren affirmed, are only the tip of a polluted iceberg.

“But it does indicate the total picture we have described,” he said. “There are most winter sports involved and while it doesn’t include every sport … we do know that every single positive first screened in the Moscow lab was sent up the chain of command and orders sent back down. That has to affect every single sport across the board. Unless there is a sport which has never has a positive, which I doubt has been the case.”

IOC president Thomas Bach immediately confirmed he will confer with his executive board to ponder “provisional measures and sanctions with regard to the Olympic Games Rio 2016.” With loud calls to kick Russia out of Rio or risk undermining the credibility of the Games, he hinted that the nuclear option might now be taken.

He said: “The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games. Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated.”

His Paralympic counterpart, Sir Philip Craven, swiftly followed suit. “We have also requested urgent clarification from both parties to better establish how the findings implicate the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and Russian Para athletes,” he said. “The Board will discuss the findings of the report and decide what relevant action needs to be taken to protect clean athletes competing in Paralympic sport.”

Last night, Russian officials, almost inevitably, moved to deny the allegations which arrived three days before the Court of Arbitration for Sport reveals its adjudication on an appeal by the country’s Athletics Federation against its suspension from Rio. “It is absurd to make such claims based on information obtained from Rodchenkov," said former All-Russian Athletics Federation head Valentin Balakhnichev. "We have never been involved in this … The 2013 (world) championships were clean, spotless."

Few would believe him now. WADA’s recommendation is for all international federations – and the IOC – to consider McLaren’s findings and act swiftly and without compromise. "WADA also recommends that Russian Government officials be denied access to international competitions, including Rio 2016," a spokesperson said.