'Impossible dream': WADA head admits sport without politics will never happen
The idea of sports being played without politics interfering is an "impossible dream," the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) admitted. However, the Olympic Charter says the sport should take place without political discrimination.
When asked by R-Sport whether it was possible to conduct sports without the intervention of politics, Craig Reedie said the notion was "sort of an impossible dream." He went on to explain that "politics affects every aspect of your life and sport is such an important part of people's lives."
To stress the importance of sport, Reedie, quoted a famous headline from Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, which reads: "Of all the things that are unimportant, sport is the most important."
Reedie's admission that sport cannot take place without politics comes despite the Olympic Charter which clearly states that "the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
His comments come as Russia continues to be embroiled in a feud with WADA, which on Thursday said that Russia remained "non-compliant" with the criteria outlined by the body after allegations surfaced of state-sponsored doping in Russian sport.
WADA's decision not to reinstate the rights of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) - which has been suspended since November 2015 - are "unpleasant" and "unjust," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
He said that Moscow has "denied and categorically deny any accusations that any instances of doping were sponsored by the state. It's not even worth discussing."
Meanwhile, RUSADA head Yury Ganus said his organization was not surprised by the ruling. However, Reedie stressed that it is not the WADA's decision to decide who competes in the Olympics Games, but rather the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision. "We aren't involved on a day-to-day basis with the IOC," he said.
"We've had an invitation from the Investigative Committee in Russia to work together in the investigation which is under way. We will accept that invitation, but we will make a condition... we need to get access to the Moscow laboratory. It can be done and it can be done quickly," he said.
Access to samples stored in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory is one of the two conditions listed on the WADA's Roadmap to Compliance, which has not been fulfilled. The other is for Russia to admit the existence of a state-sponsored doping program.
Reedie acknowledged that RUSADA is a "much better organization that they were before," citing positive changes that have been made. However, he suggested that simply isn't enough. "People in Russia have come 90 percent of the way to solving this problem, but it's the last 10 percent – which is the two existing conditions that are difficult," he said.
Referring to the two remaining roadmap criteria on Thursday, RUSADA head Ganus said: "We have fulfilled all the criteria within our competence outlined in the roadmap. Unfortunately, we failed to meet two requirements as their fulfilment lay beyond our power and, facing these facts, WADA took this kind of a decision.”