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A person waves a Russian flag over the Olympics logo
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/David J. Phillip

WADA reinstates Russia's anti-doping agency

September 20, 2018

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Russian authorities have offered access to laboratory data and samples. But the international body threatened to suspend Russia's RUSADA again if it fails to live up to its commitment.


WADA lifts ban on Russian drug testing lab

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee voted on Thursday to reinstate Russia's anti-doping agency, RUSADA.

"This decision provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples with a clear commitment by the [executive committee] that should this timeline not be met, it would support the [compliance review committee's] recommendation to reinstate non-compliance," the organization said in a tweet.

In 2015, WADA suspended RUSADA for non-compliance with global anti-doping rules. WADA that year also withdrew the Moscow anti-doping laboratory's accreditation.

Read more: Opinion: The world of sports is looking away

'Slap in face' of clean athletes

  • Moscow "welcomes" the decision and "confirms its adherence to the principles of clean competition," said Olga Golodets, Russia's deputy prime minister for sports.
  • WADA Vice President Linda Helleland lambasted the decision, saying it "casts a dark shadow over the credibility of the anti-doping movement."

  • The head of the US anti-doping agency, Travis Tygart, called the decision a "devastating blow to the world's clean athletes."

  • Ahead of the anticipated reinstatement, Dagmar Freitag, who heads the German parliamentary commission for sports, described the decision as "an unbelievable slap in the face."
  • The Social Democrat politician took aim at the German head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), saying: "It is an open secret that Thomas Bach is working with all his power as IOC president to bring Russia back into the so-called family of sports."
  • The IOC said it had taken "note of the decision."

WADA make decision on Russia

What prompted Russia's suspension? RUSADA was suspended following a WADA probe into allegations of widespread doping in Russian athletics. The investigation was prompted in part by a German TV documentary by public broadcaster ARD that exposed systematic doping in the country.

The most damning findings, by far, pertained to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where Russian officials are alleged to have systematically swapped clean samples for dirty ones. Russia has rejected one key claim of the so-called McLaren Report, namely that the system was "state-sponsored."

Read more: How clean is Russian football?

New roadmap

Is Russia playing fair with sport?

One of the first proposals for the reinstatement of RUSADA required Russian authorities to accept the McLaren report, which had suggested possible Kremlin involvement in the doping scheme. But that was softened under the new roadmap.

Instead, WADA was satisfied with a letter from Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov that said Russia "fully accepted the decision" to be suspended "based on the findings of the Schmidt Report." That report was made by former Swiss President Samuel Schmidt and did not emphasize state involvement in the doping scheme, placing the blame squarely on RUSADA.

Read more: Opinion: A dark day for the battle against doping

What happens next? RUSADA must provide WADA with access to its laboratory data and samples. Non-compliance will result in another suspension, according to the world anti-doping body.

ls/msh (Reuters, dpa)

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