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RUSADA chief calls for red tape to be lifted as WADA officials return home from Moscow empty-handed

RUSADA chief calls for red tape to be lifted as WADA officials return home from Moscow empty-handed
The head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency Yuri Ganus says the failure to allow World Anti Doping Agency officials full access to the information systems of their Moscow Laboratory could be "devastating for Russian sports."

WADA's five-person team headed home empty-handed after being told by Russian authorities that the team’s data extraction was not certified under Russian law and they would not be allowed to proceed with their data collection mission.

A statement from WADA explained: "This issue had not been raised during an initial meeting on 28 November in Moscow, after which WADA sent its expert team back to Moscow to retrieve the data."

WADA's team was tasked with accessing the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and its data from the former Moscow Laboratory as a condition of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) reinstatement to the list of WADA code-compliant signatories.

But after the WADA team was prevented from completing their task, RUSADA General Director Yuri Ganus issued a statement saying the organization was "not satisfied" with the outcome of the WADA visit.

"I want to emphasize that Russia is interested first hand in the quickest provision of the database, this is in our national interests," he said, TASS reported.

"The transfer of the base is the way to stop all speculations about the Russian sports and to protect the interests of our clean athletes. We also need to think about the future of the Moscow laboratory itself."

A statement from WADA explained that a formal report on the team's visit and failed mission will be prepared and sent to the independent Compliance Review Committee, which is due to meet on January 14-15 to discuss RUSADA's level of compliance.

But WADA also stated that their team "stands ready" to proceed with the data collection as soon as Russian officials can clear them, and their equipment, to do so.

"In light of the progress that has been made – and the importance of obtaining this data in order to implicate or exonerate athletes – WADA’s expert team stands ready to proceed with the full data extraction should the matter be resolved by Russia expeditiously," the statement read.

Ganus said it was imperative that WADA operatives were granted access to complete their mission before the originally-set deadline of December 31, as it was in the best interests of Russian sport.

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"The issue of transferring the database should be resolved within the previously set period - until December 31, and this should actually be done as soon as possible," he stated.

"We need to look for opportunities, not reasons. We need to understand that no one will not be on duty at the laboratory in the hope that at least a few minutes before midnight access to the data will still be open.

"And the consequences of not meeting this critical condition are determined by the standards for WADA compliance, and they will be devastating for Russian sports," concluded RUSADA head.

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