Russia will appeal against the decision to ban the country from major sporting competitions for four years, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) said Thursday.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued the ban because of RUSADA’s failure to cooperate fully during probes into doping in Russian sport.
If upheld, the ruling would prevent the country from competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, though the door has been left open for clean Russian athletes to compete as neutrals without country affiliation.
The potential ban also means Russia might not be able to host lucrative sporting showpieces.
RUSADA’s Supervisory Board met to deliberate WADA’s punishment and announced Thursday it will lodge an appeal with the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“It’s unjust, doesn’t correspond to common sense and the law,” President Vladimir Putin said at his annual international news conference in Moscow Thursday.
Jonathan Taylor, the head of WADA’s compliance committee which recommended the sanctions, previously told CNN Sport he would be “confident” that WADA’s decision would be upheld if Russia appealed.
WADA’s punishment relates to inconsistencies in data retrieved in January 2019 from the Moscow lab at the center of the 2016 McLaren report, which uncovered a widespread and sophisticated state-sponsored sports doping network.
The findings led to sanctions, including no Russian team being present at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, with certain eligible athletes being forced to compete under a neutral flag.
Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said the appeal was “no surprise” and insists Russia has “failed to ever take responsibility for these sporting crimes.”
Tygart added in a statement that Russia’s actions have left “clean athletes of the world without justice.” He called on CAS to “see through these machinations” and enforce the ban “which is allowed for and proportional to the intentional fraud, deception, and destruction of clean athletes and the Olympic values seen here.”