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WADA Executive Committee Endorses Russian Ban

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A fan holding the Russian flag at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Photo: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

By David Owen |

Russia is on course to have its presence and participation in international sport severely curtailed for four years, after World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) leaders endorsed the recommendations of the Agency’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC).

The sanctions stop short of a blanket ban on Russian athletes.

However, they appear to place a question-mark over the participation of Russian teams in high-profile sporting competitions such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The decision, after a meeting thought to have lasted an hour or so here, was unanimous.

As such, it provides a much-needed boost to WADA’s authority and does much to vindicate President Sir Craig Reedie’s handling of a difficult and politically explosive dossier in his final month in the post before handing over to Poland’s Witold Bańka.

WADA vice president Linda Helleland said that, though she voted in favor of the CRC recommendation, she would have preferred to support a blanket ban.

“Unfortunately, at the [WADA Executive Committee] meeting in the Seychelles [in September 2018]…the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was made compliant without having delivered the data from their lab,” Helleland said.

“Now we know that decision was wrong.”

Formal notice will now be sent to RUSADA, alleging non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code for failing to provide an “authentic” copy of Moscow anti-doping laboratory data.

The CRC has alleged that this data was manipulated before being handed over to investigators, as required under conditions for reinstating RUSADA’s compliance with the code in September 2018.

The matter is now likely to be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for final adjudication.

The CRC has proposed a series of sanctions on Russia lasting four years.

These include:

A ban on Russian Government officials sitting on boards or committees of code signatories.

A ban on Russian Government representatives attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games and world championships.

A ban on Russia hosting or bidding for major events.

A ban on the Russian flag being flown at major events.

A ban on senior Russian Olympic or Paralympic Committee members attending major events.

Russian athletes may only participate “where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance”.

“The Executive Committee strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018,” Sir Craig said.

“Combined, these strengths have enabled the Executive Committee to make the right decisions at the right time.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. 

“The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the Executive Committee in September 2018, demanded a robust response. 

“That is exactly what has been delivered today. 

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial. 

“As a result, the Executive Committee has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.”

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.

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