LAUSANNE/MOSCOW, December 9
Russia was today banned from the world’s top sporting events for four years, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with doping tests. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee acted after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.
The decision was a huge blow to the pride of a nation that has traditionally been a powerhouse in many sports but whose reputation has been tarnished by a series of doping scandals.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” WADA president Craig Reedie said. “The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions... demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today,” he said in a statement.
The impact of the unanimous decision was felt immediately, with WADA confirming that the Russian national team could not take part in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar under the Russian flag and could only participate as neutrals.
“If they qualify, a team representing Russia cannot participate, but if there is a mechanism put in place, then they can apply to participate on a neutral basis, not as representatives of Russia,” Jonathan Taylor, chair of WADA’s compliance review committee, told a news conference.
It was not clear how that might work in practice. FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, said it was in contact with WADA to clarify the extent of the decision.
Backed by IOC
The ban also means that Russian sportsmen and sportswomen will not be able to perform at the Olympics in Tokyo next year under their own flag and national anthem.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has come under attack for not taking a harder line on Russian doping, said it fully backed the ruling by the Swiss-based WADA.
Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics. Its woes have only grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Today’s sanctions, which also include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events, were recommended by WADA’s compliance review committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow earlier this year.
One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data.
The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation. The punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at big international events without their flag or anthem for the next four years, something they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. — Reuters
Moscow blames ‘anti-Russian hysteria’
Moscow: Russia reeled from a four-year ban from global sports, with athletes in shock and the government quick to blame “anti-Russian hysteria”. The head of Russia’s anti-doping agency, meanwhile, said his country had “no chance” of winning an appeal of the ban, which he described as a tragedy for clean athletes. Russia can appeal the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the head of its RUSADA anti-doping agency, Yuri Ganus, said he doubted it would be successful. “There is no chance of winning this case in court,” Ganus said. “This is a tragedy. Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited.”
While admitting there have been instances of doping, Russian officials say the country is no worse than any other. Some have accused other countries of pursuing the ban to remove Russian athletes from competition. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that it was “impossible to deny” that doping had taken place but that those involved had already been punished. “This is the continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria that has already become chronic,” Medvedev said. afp
No Olympics for 1980 Games hosts
The Russian flag or anthem will not be there at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. However, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean can compete under a neutral flag
No World Cup for 2018 quarterfinalists
Last edition’s hosts Russia will also miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, WADA confirmed that if the Russian team were to qualify, it could only participate as neutrals
Hosting rights gone
Today’s sanctions also include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events. Also Russian government officials will be barred from attending any major events
For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions... demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today— Craig Reedie, Wada president
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