WADA ‘Bitterly Disappointed’ At Russian Failure To Meet Anti-Doping Deadline
(Article ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Jan. 1, 2019 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/wada-bitterly-disappointed-at-russian-failure-to-meet-anti-doping-deadline/29687033.html)
Russia faces the possibility of renewed sporting sanctions after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that Russian officials failed to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory by December 31.
WADA President Craig Reedie said on January 1 that he was “bitterly disappointed” that the year-end deadline was missed by Russian officials and said the international anti-doping watchdog will now consider imposing sanctions on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
RUSADA was stripped of its accreditation in 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field and other sports.
RUSADA was conditionally reinstated in September, a move that was widely criticized by members of the anti-doping movement.
Reedie said WADA’s Compliance Review Committee will meet on January 14 to review the situation and make a recommendation on how RUSADA’s failure should be handled.
If RUSADA loses its accreditation again, it could lead to Russian athletes being kept from participating in the next Olympics and the continuation of the ban on the country’s track-and-field athletes from participating in international competitions.
Reedie said WADA had worked “dilligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport.”
He said WADA has informed Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov and RUSADA Director-General Yury Ganus about the situation.
Kolobkov had said on December 29 that Russian officials and WADA were discussing a date for WADA experts to visit and receive laboratory data.
WADA said an inspection team visiting the Moscow lab was denied access to data last month after Russian authorities said the inspection team’s equipment was not certified under Russian law.
Critics of Russian sports officials urged WADA to take a hard line against Moscow.
“The situation is a total joke and an embarrassment for WADA and the global anti-doping system,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
“In September, WADA secretly moved the goalposts and reinstated Russia against the wishes of athletes, governments, and the public,” he said. “In doing this, WADA guaranteed Russia would turn over the evidence of its state-supported doping scheme by today.”
He added: “No one is surprised this deadline was ignored, and it’s time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians and immediately declare them noncompliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline.”
But in his New Year’s message, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said Russia had been sufficiently punished.
“With its suspension from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee has served its sanction,” he wrote.
The IOC lifted its ban on Russian athletes at the conclusion of the Winter Olympics.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa
[featured image is file photo from another occasion]