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9 Dec, 2019 13:46

It will take a long time to restore Russia’s reputation after WADA ban, says ice hockey legend Fetisov

It will take a long time to restore Russia’s reputation after WADA ban, says ice hockey legend Fetisov

Ice hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov says he is saddened by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to impose a four-year ban on Russia, but has cautioned against searching for any political motives in their actions.

I’m truly upset by WADA’s ban, I hoped they would make another decision regarding Russia. It could destroy Russian sport. Reputation-restoring process will take a long time,” Fetisov told RT.

READ MORE: Russia banned from major sporting events for 4 years

The two-time Stanley Cup winner suggested that attempts to overturn the controversial decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will not be successful given that WADA members were unanimous in their decision to ban Russia.

Of course we should file an appeal with the CAS, but I’m not sure we have enough arguments [to overturn the decision]. There were suggestions that WADA members would have different opinions regarding the Russian case, but the unanimous decision shows that the evidence against us was more than heavy. Politics is absolutely not involved here,” the retired hockey player added.

The former Detroit Red Wings superstar compared the scandal with the 1984 Olympic boycott, when Soviet athletes were forced to skip the major sports event due to political controversies.

Also on rt.com No flag, no anthem: What the WADA ban means for Russia

My mother-in-law [Valentina Rodionenko] who is the head coach of the Russian artistic gymnastics team is crying now. She has spent her entire life in sport and she feels sorry for all the young athletes who will be denied a chance to compete at the Olympics. A similar situation took place in 1984 when the Soviet team refuse to participate in the Los Angeles Games. This is a huge blow that will hurt for the rest of your life. Now we are facing a similar situation because of Russian authorities,” Fetisov said.

The hockey legend Fetisov who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada, in 2001 recalled the numerous appeals filed by the Russian athletes, near the time of Pyeongchang 2018, were overturned by the CAS, stressing it would be difficult to be approved for the Olympics if initially denied by WADA.

READ MORE: Russian Anti-Doping Agency is effective, we’ll find a way out of the crisis – RUSADA chief Yuri Ganus

We should inspect all documents to find out how to protect the rights of athletes in case of disqualification. We do remember how Russian athletes tried to file protests individually and collectively since the 2016 Rio Games. Some of them managed to win their cases, some not. I do hope there will be indulgences for the Russian athletes,” the former defender said.

Talking about measures which might be taken by Russian authorities, Fetisov said that reform and drastic change is needed.

Is it time to fire all sports figures involved in the doping scandal? Yes, this is one of the options to find a way out,” he added.

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