By Liam Morgan |
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is set to be reinstated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee at its meeting next week after the organization met the two outstanding compliance criteria, it was announced today.
In a statement, WADA said the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) had recommended RUSADA be declared compliant when the Executive Committee meets in the Seychelles on Thursday (September 20).
A letter sent from the Russian Ministry of Sport to WADA fulfilled the first requirement – a public acceptance of the McLaren Report and its findings – as it “sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia.”
The letter differs from a similar document sent on the eve of the last gathering of the Executive Committee in Montreal in May but its contents have not been revealed.
According to WADA, a “commitment” from Russia to provide data and access to the samples stored at the Moscow Laboratory via an independent expert was sufficient to meet the last remaining criteria “provided that the Executive Committee imposes a clear timeline for such process.”
The announcement confirms that WADA has slightly softened the roadmap following suggestions the organization made to Russia in a bid to end the protracted stalemate.
It marks a considerable u-turn from the previous recommendation from the CRC, published by BBC Sport yesterday, as the panel initially said RUSADA had not met the outstanding criteria.
The CRC has the ability to change its recommendation when new evidence or documentation emerges, however.
Should the Executive Committee follow the recommendation of the CRC, as they have done previously, it will end RUSADA’s near three-year period in exile after the body was declared non-compliant in November 2015 following the revelations concerning state-sponsored doping in athletics.
It could also prompt Russia to be welcomed back by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as RUSADA compliance is key to their respective reinstatement criteria.
The decision is likely to be criticized by those who have called for the strict conditions of the roadmap to be maintained.
Yesterday, a group of British athletes signed a letter sent by the UK Anti-Doping Athlete Committee to WADA President Sir Craig Reedie, which said reinstating Russia before the criteria had been adhered to would be a “catastrophe for clean sport.”
The document was supported by countries including Canada and the United States.
“We, the athletes, insist you hold the line on the roadmap,” the letter read.
“Do not U-turn.
“Do not fail clean sport.”
It came after WADA had come under pressure from the IPC to bring an end to the impasse.
IPC President Andrew Parsons also wrote a letter to Sir Craig, which called for increased efforts to resolve the deadlock between WADA and RUSADA.
insidethegames understands RUSADA were close to being declared compliant by the Executive Committee in May.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sports movement representatives within WADA extensively lobbied for Russian reinstatement after the country sent a letter to the global watchdog.
They claimed it constituted the public acceptance of the McLaren Report as outlined in the roadmap but Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov immediately cast doubt on that theory and denied they had backed down.
Russian officials have continually stated they would never accept the findings of the report from the Canadian lawyer, published in December 2016 and which led to athletes from the country being forced to compete as neutrals at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
The report detailed a “systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system committed by Russia at major events including their home Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.
It is not clear when WADA will be given access to the samples and data at the Moscow Laboratory but that could be clarified at the meeting in the Seychelles.
“I was confident that sooner or later the WADA Committee would accept the huge work that Russia has carried out in the fight against doping,” Kolobkov said following today’s announcement, according to RT.
“We always aimed for cooperation, we did everything that depended on us, while acting according to Russian law.
“We are open to the maximum, because we have nothing to hide – only with shared efforts can we achieve such a result.”
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.