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Russia faces 4-year ban from major international sports events after WADA ‘recommends’ strong sanctions

Russia faces 4-year ban from major international sports events after WADA ‘recommends’ strong sanctions
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published details of its Compliance Review Committee’s (CRC) recommendations amid the reignited Russian doping saga. If enacted, this document might spell a grim future for Russian sports.

Since some parts of the recommendations already leaked to the media, the international anti-doping watchdog published additional details on its website. The document claims that a copy of the data on the athletes’ probes from the Moscow Laboratory handed over to WADA in January 2019 as part of the process of restoring Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA’s status appeared to be inauthentic or inconsistent.

The CRC concluded that the data was tampered with and therefore recommended WADA’s Executive Committee to declare RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four-year period, even though the committee admitted that the Russian agency itself, which was reorganized following doping allegations that saw Russia banned from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, is not in breach of any rules.

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“The evidence […] indicates that RUSADA’s work is effective in contributing to the fight against doping in Russian sport, and that it is working productively in cooperation with other Anti-Doping Organizations, including in investigations within Russia,” the report says.

Yet, the handover of authentic data from the Moscow Laboratory was a “key” requirement of RUSADA’s reinstatement following the scandal.

The sanctions proposed by the CRC in terms of Russia’s participation in the international sports events appear to be even more devastating as they de-facto ban Russia from hosting any major sports events in the coming four years, as well as prohibit Russian officials from attending any held abroad or holding offices in any sports bodies.

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As for the Russian athletes, they will only be allowed to take part in international competitions if they prove they are not implicated in any non-compliance incidents and that their data was not tampered with in the database that WADA received in January 2019. They will also be prohibited from representing their country, since “Russia’s flag may not be flown at any Major Event staged in the Four Year Period.”

Earlier, RUSADA’s head Yuri Ganus said it would be a “tragedy” if Russian athletes faced suspension from international sporting events, including next summer’s Olympic Games in Japan. His agency was only recently restored following a three-year suspension. The final decision on the sanctions will be taken by the WADA Executive Committee on December 9.

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