International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said the fight against doping continued and suggested it could never be won, but confirmed that a ban on Russia would be lifted if further doping tests at the Pyeongchang Games were negative.

‘We cannot ignore human reality,’ Bach said on Sunday, hours before the closing ceremony of the Winter Games.

Bach said two doping cases involving Russian athletes at the Games  ‘played the major role’ in deciding that Russia remained banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics, which meant its athletes were prevented from marching under their own flag at the closing ceremony.

‘If there are no positive results the sanction is considered to be lifted,’ he said, adding that this would be ‘automatic’ if confirmed by the Doping Free Sports Unit (DFSU).

‘I don't think these Olympic Games have been been tainted by the affair,’ he said.

‘These are cases of negligence and there is no indication for a systemic doping affair here or any involvement of the Olympic Athletes from Russia leadership or the Russian Olympic Committee.’  Curler Alexandr Krushelnitckii and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva both tested positive during the Games.

 The way the IOC had dealt with the wider Russian doping affair, allowing 168 Russians to compete as neutral OAR athletes, ‘is not a blueprint because I hope this affair remains a unique one,’ he said.

Bach painted a positive picture of the Games and praised the South Korea organizers.

‘I think at the end of this Olympic Winter Games at Pyeongchang 2018 we can all be very happy for many different reasons, and the IOC is very happy about the great success of these Olympic Games,’ he said.

The Games had sent a ‘powerful message’ with the thawing of relations between South Korea and the North, Bach said, highlighting the unified Korean women's ice hockey team and the joint march of the Korean teams at the opening ceremony.

‘We hope now that the political world will use this momentum for the dialogue on their level because now it's up to the politicians,’ he said.

‘Sport and the IOC has done what we could do in this respect. We will continue this dialogue for Olympic matters but what is more important now is that this dialogue is being followed up on the political side concerning the political tensions.’

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