Mission accomplished: WADA team completes data-gathering mission to Moscow

Mission accomplished: WADA team completes data-gathering mission to Moscow
The World Anti-Doping Agency has successfully completed its job of collecting data from the former Moscow Laboratory at its second attempt.

A statement from WADA explained that a three-person team successfully retrieved the required data from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), as well as its underlying analytical data during their second visit to the lab in Moscow.

The WADA team's first visit to the laboratory saw them turned away by authorities, who stated that the team's technical equipment had not been cleared for use. It meant that RUSADA and the Russian authorities missed their 31 December deadline to provide access to the data.

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But, after the issue of the bureaucratic red tape had been addressed, the WADA team returned to Russia and successfully completed its mission.

"This is a major breakthrough for clean sport," said WADA president Sir Craig Reedie.

"It shows we are continuing to make real progress that simply would not have happened without the 20 September ExCo decision. The first phase of the three-phase process outlined by that decision is now complete. The long impasse around access to the former Moscow Laboratory has been broken and that is significantly good news.

"WADA now embarks on the second phase, which entails the authentication and review of the data to ensure it is complete and that it has not been compromised. Given the amount of data, that will take some time to achieve but our experts have the tools they need to be able to verify the data with a high degree of confidence.

"Once the data have been authenticated, we will be in a position to proceed to the third phase and support the various sports and other anti-doping organizations concerned to build strong cases against athletes who doped and, as part of that, ensure that certain samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory are re-analyzed in an accredited laboratory no later than 30 June 2019."

The data collected by WADA will be used to build cases against anti-doping offenders and also to clear other athletes suspected of committing doping offenses. The data has been taken out of Russia for detailed analysis by WADA's technical experts.

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Meanwhile, the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) has received a full report on everything that has occurred since the WADA Executive Committee's decision to reinstate RUSADA as a code-compliant WADA signatory on 20 September and has submitted its recommendations to the WADA Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee are scheduled to meet on 22 January to consider its next step in the light of those recommendations.