WADA Director General caught on hot mic – 'We’re not desperate' for Russia return (RT EXCLUSIVE)
Niggli was talking to WADA’s newly re-elected president, Craig Reedie, on the sidelines of a meeting of the agency’s Foundation Board in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.
“It’s good to say we’re working with Russia, but don’t give the impression that we’re rushing,” Niggli said as he instructed WADA president.
“No, no,” Reedie replied.
“I think be patient and… we want them to get back, but not under any condition. Just be careful,” Niggli said.
“Yeah, but I can be encouraging with [Vitaly] Smirnov (Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission’s head),” Reedie answered.
“Yeah, but not too much. Just be neutral. We aren’t desperate for them [Russia] to come back,” Niggli stressed.
“They can come back if they do the right thing,” he added.
Niggli’s words contradicted recent statements of other WADA officials, who have been expressing satisfaction with Russia’s efforts aimed at dealing with the doping crisis.
Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission’s head, Vitaly Smirnov, told the press on Sunday that WADA president Reedie promised him to do everything in his power to restore Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA’s, membership in the organization.
Earlier, WADA’s deputy director general, Robert Koehler, said that agency and the Russian side “have now revised a detailed roadmap to work with RUSADA to ensure compliance can be achieved, using a series of timelines and deliverables.”
“We are on a good path and there is light at the end of the tunnel," Koehler said.
Over the last couple of years, Russia has been fighting against accusations of large-scale doping use by its athletes, with claims that RUSADA has been turning a blind eye to it, as well as being unduly influenced by the Sports Ministry.
The allegations first surfaced following a documentary by German broadcaster ARD in 2014, eventually leading WADA to suspend RUSADA’s laboratory in November 2015.
On June 18, 2016, WADA published a report from Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that detailed the results of his investigation into doping allegations at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Based on those findings, WADA recommended that the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and all international sporting federations exclude Russia from their competitions.
The sanctions by WADA led to a ban from 2016 Rio Olympics for the Russian track-and-field athletes and saw the whole country’s team missing the Paralympics in Brazil.