With less than a year to go until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, doping compliance proceedings have been opened against Russia, says the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The proceedings – opened against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) – relate to inconsistencies in data retrieved by WADA in January 2019 from the Moscow lab at the center of the 2016 McLaren report which uncovered a widespread and sophisticated state-sponsored doping network in Russian sport.
RUSADA were subsequentially found non-compliant, leading to sanctions including no Russian team being present at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, with certain eligible Russian athletes being forced to compete as neutral athletes.
They were reinstated as compliant in September 2018 on a number of conditions, including handing over all data from the Moscow lab – it is this data which WADA now suspects has been tampered with.
“Ensuring the authenticity of the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and underlying raw data was one of the critical conditions imposed by the ExCo for RUSADA to maintain its compliance with the Code.” WADA’s statement read.
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Russian Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov, said that as a result of their compliance with WADA’s requests, proceedings have been opened against some athletes.
“All the conditions for the restoration of RUSADA, which were established by the WADA executive committee on September 20, 2018, have been met,” Kolobkov said, according to Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti, citing the ministry’s press service.
“RUSADA and the Ministry of Sports of Russia had to ensure the transfer of data and samples stored in the laboratory. We did everything in our power. Thanks to this, international federations opened cases for some athletes based on information received from WADA.”
Russia have been given three weeks by WADA to explain the inconsistencies in the data before their Compliance Review Committee will continue to investigate and provide a recommendation to WADA’s executive-committee.
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“We know that WADA has a number of questions, a deadline is now set of three weeks to prepare an answer these questions. During those three weeks, you just have to wait.
“The Kremlin does not communicate with WADA on this topic, this is a question that concerns the sports authorities of Russia, and that is where the answer will be prepared.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call Monday.
If Russia decide to appeal WADA’s decision, the appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Additional reporting by Nathan Hodge in Moscow