WADA bans Russian sports for four years

WADA bans Russian sports for four years

The Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has approved recommendations of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to declare Russia non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period of four years.

 WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald said that "the full list of recommendations have been unanimously accepted."

The WADA Executive Committee ruled that Russia must not host, or bid for or be granted in the four-year period any major international sports tournament. Russian state officials as well as the officials of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) have been also banned from attending all major international sports tournaments for the period of four years.

The deputy director general of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Margarita Pakhnotskaya, has described as well-expected the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision.

"The WADA Executive Committee’s decision was well-expected. I’m not surprised it was unanimous. The picture that I saw at a recent WADA session was approximately the same. As far as I understand, Executive Committee members said not a word in Russia’s support," TASS cited Pakhnotskaya as saying.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has the right to appeal WADA’s ruling within 21 days. In case RUSADA decides against submitting an appeal, it can be also filed by heads of the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees as well as by heads of the international sports federations.  

Such a heavy sanction would see Russia ruled out of next year's Tokyo Olympics and the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022. Russia also may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On November 25, the WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) reiterated its previous recommendation for the world anti-doping body’s Executive Committee to strip RUSADA of its compliance status and came up with a recommendation of additional sanctions against Russian sports.

The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on September 20, 2018 on condition that WADA experts would be granted access before December 31, 2018 to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.

Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).

Executive Director of the Association of Moscow region's sports industry organizations Oleg Kuralekh, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that it is important to understand that WADA is not the last resort to decide on banning a country from sporting events. "The situation is difficult and unprecedented. At the same time, WADA is not an organization that de facto bans. One of the main hopes for us is the constitutional court, which must take appropriate decisions, and the IOC Executive Committee," he said.

"The most unpleasant is the approach itself: some laboratory data are just tools to continue a systematic impact on countries and sports movements. If it was the world's real anti-doping system, the organization’s decisions could be considered fair, but we can clearly see that WADA turns a blind eye to some, and discriminates others, which is completely unfair," Oleg Kuralekh emphasized.

"We see that WADA experts and authorities gave a huge amount of comments in the media in advance, that the decisions have already been prepared and will concern the whole country. The IOC is an international association of public organizations, and the decision is primarily up to it, but we see that no one cares about it," the executive director of the Association of Moscow region's sports industry organizations said.

"Because of this, we will have to invite foreign laboratories, pay them a lot of money. This will be a kind of tax on Russian sports, until the Olympic movement, WADA, will undergo a complete change of staff," he concluded.

"But I’m sure that no matter what decision is made, nothing will stop the development of Russia's sports and the development of physical culture and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle," Oleg Kuralekh added.