Headed by former IOC Vice President Richard Pound, an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has identified what it called systemic failures in the IAAF world athletics federation (IAAF) and in Russia “that prevent or diminish the possibility of an effective anti-doping program”. Presenting its lengthy report at a press conference in Geneva the commission recommended that the Russian Athletics Federation be banned from the sport over widespread doping offences, a move that may lead Russian athletes to be banned from taking part in the 2016 Olympics. “It’s worse than we thought,” said Richard W. Pound, a co-author of the report. “It’s residue of the old Soviet Union system.”
According to the report, athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and various Russian institutions were involved in the system. It detailed payments to conceal doping tests and arrangements by which athletes were made aware of when they would be tested, in violation of code which dictates they be spontaneous, and also the destruction of samples. The report also said that members of Russian law enforcement agencies were present in the Moscow lab and involved in the efforts to interfere with the integrity of the samples, creating “an atmostphere of intimidation” on lab processes and staff members. “What made these allegations even more egregious was the knowledge that the government of the Russian Federation provides direct funding and oversight for the above institutions, thus suggesting that the federal government was not only complicit in the collusion, but that it was effectively a state-sponsored regime,” the report said. Richard Pound also said that the World Anti-Doping Agency had negotiated a cooperation agreement with Interpol and handed over extensive documents and evidence. “This is not he-said, she said,” Pound said. Interpol confirmed that cooperation with its own announcement on Monday.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.