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WADA leaves door open for Russia ban to be lifted early ‘if raw lab data is provided’

WADA leaves door open for Russia ban to be lifted early ‘if raw lab data is provided’
The World Anti-Doping Agency has suggested it could reconsider the four-year ban handed to Russia if full and untampered data is provided from the Moscow laboratory at the heart of the current scandal.

At a meeting on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, WADA’s Executive Committee unanimously voted to declare the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant, banning Russia for four years from major sporting events including the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup.

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

The step comes after Russia was deemed to have manipulated data provided to WADA from a Moscow anti-doping laboratory in January. 

But speaking to the media after the decision was announced, WADA Compliance Committee chair Jonathan Taylor left the door open for early reinstatement for RUSADA.

“If the raw data is produced, there can be a reconsideration of the consequences,” Taylor said.  

Complete data from the laboratory would allow the agency to get an accurate picture of Russian athletes’ testing history, and pursue any sanctions in case of undiscovered doping violations.  

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The data was initially handed over in January of this year as part of the reinstatement terms for RUSADA after a three-year exile over claims of state-sponsored doping.

However, WADA later discovered large sections of the data had been tampered with or deleted, calling it a “blatant breach” of the terms of reinstatement which demanded a “robust response.”

RUSADA chief Yuri Ganus has himself said that some of the data was altered. 

WADA's response came in the form of Monday’s ban, which means the Russian flag will not be allowed at world championships for the next four years.

However, WADA avoided handing down the blanket ban called for in some quarters, allowing Russian athletes to compete as neutrals if they have not been implicated in doping cases.

Should RUSADA not accept the ban, the case will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, although WADA expressed confidence that its decision would be backed there.  

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