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15 Sep, 2017 16:52

WADA chief slams anti-doping agencies' call to ban Russia from Olympics

President of the World Anti-Doping Agency Craig Reedie has criticized more than a dozen national anti-doping agencies who demanded that Russia be banned from 2018 Winter Olympics.

“The comment that has been made by a group of NADOs [National Anti-Doping Organizations] omits entirely all the work that has been done to develop a proper [anti-]doping system in Russia,” Reedie said in a statement.

According to the WADA chief, these comments show that the agencies are looking “backwards” instead of “forwards.”

“I want to make it quite clear that most what they say in a press release is not the policy of WADA, and what they say in my view is not helpful,” he added.

On Thursday 17 National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) leaders demanded that the International Olympic Committee banish Russia from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

READ MORE: Russian Sports Ministry introduces measures to battle doping

The NADO heads cited Russia’s “proven corruption of the Sochi Olympic Games and continuing failure in its obligations to clean sport.”

“We have serious doubts that the 2018 Games will be clean due to the incomplete investigation of massive evidence of individual doping by Russians athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and given the inadequate testing evidence of Russian athletes over the past four years,” the joint statement said.

The scandal wherein Russia was accused of state-sponsored doping erupted in spring 2016. WADA informant Grigory Rodchenkov, who used to head the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, announced that he had run a massive doping ring and destroyed thousands of control samples from Russian athletes. His claims became the basis of an investigative report compiled by Richard McLaren that caused the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to recommend that Russia be banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In June 2016 WADA published McLaren’s report 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 WADA sanctions led Russian track-and-field athletes to be banned from the Rio 2016 games and saw the whole of the country’s team missing the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Earlier in September WADA told RT that it had closed its investigation in regard to 95 of the 96 Russian athletes implicated in its McLaren Report as there 'simply may not be sufficient evidence to sanction'.

In an official email response to a request made by RT received on Wednesday, WADA stated, "For many of the athletes identified, the only evidence available is what Professor McLaren could unveil."

Attempts to find political influence behind doping in Russia are endless, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport Friday.

“We notice endless work aimed to recheck our samples, to study the so-called political part of the [McLaren] report – whether or not there was [political] influence. We can say that there was no influence. [Yet] there are never-ending queues of witnesses,” he said.

Earlier in August, Mutko said it will not take long to implement the remaining World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) criteria for the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

RUSADA was suspended in November 2015 from carrying out doping controls within Russia by WADA in the wake of the doping scandal. It was, however, permitted to plan and coordinate testing under the supervision of international experts and the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) this June.