The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) forgave Russia on Tuesday for missing a deadline to turn over its lab data. But WADA also raised the threat of an Olympic ban if the data is found to have been tampered with.
Russia missed the December 31 deadline to comply but WADA said it was satisfied that the relevant files were eventually handed over last week.
"This process was difficult, it has been achieved and I think we've moved forward," WADA president Craig Reedie said. "I'm pleased this degree of progress has been made and that we've moved significantly forward."
WADA is still analyzing what it says are vast tracts of data from lab servers and equipment, data which until recently was sealed off by Russian law enforcement.
The anti-doping organization published a letter on Tuesday stating that its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) will "very likely" recommend an Olympic ban if it finds evidence the files were tampered with while in Russian hands.
"If there is evidence of tampering, the CRC has put on record that it will meet immediately, and if tampering is confirmed, will recommend the severest possible sanctions," said Jonathan Taylor, who
heads the WADA committee.
"This is for information. No decision can or should be made now, but the CRC wants to put that on the record."
In the CRC's letter to WADA, the committee also said it could recommend Russia be banned from hosting world championships in any sport.
mp (AP, DPA)