Will Russian athletes be left without Olympics?

Will Russian athletes be left without Olympics?

The Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has refused to recognize Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA as compliant with the international code. The decision was taken at the WADA Foundation Board Meeting in Seoul.

Ahead of the vote, the WADA Compliance Review Committee issued a recommendation on non-compliance of RUSADA with the WADA code. During the official vote, WADA head Craig Reedie asked whether the Foundation Board members had doubts about preservation of RUSADA’s status. Receiving no objections, Reedie declared the decision to prolong the status of non-compliance for RUSADA.

The reason was failure to fulfill two reinstatement criteria by the Russian side. The first criteria demands public recognition of the findings by the WADA independent commission headed by Richard McLaren about the existence of a state doping system, and the second criteria demands provision of access to doping probes that are sealed in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory due to the ongoing federal investigation. According to the Chair of the Compliance Review Committee Jonathan Taylor, the access of WADA employees and inspectors to closed cities also remains a problem.

According to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, a decision made by WADA to extend Russia’s membership suspension from the global organization has nothing to do with Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

"On the whole, we expected this decision, but it has no impact whatsoever on the national team’s participation since it is in the authority of the IOC and the IOC is holding its own investigation," he said.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov spoke at the WADA executive committee that preceded the Foundation Board Meeting. He declared there that Russia recognized the importance of information contained in McLaren’s report, but the document contains a lot of inconsistences, so it still remains to learn what is true and what is not.

Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA will continue dialogue on its reinstatement with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and will work as normal, Chairman of the agency’s Supervisory Board Alexander Ivlev said.

"RUSADA continues operating as normal: it is important not to stop taking the athletes’ doping samples, continue recruiting and training doping controllers, analyze tests, develop education in the agency and continue improving the system of doping control in Russia," TASS cited him as saying.

"It seems to me now that it is important to have a measured position and reaction to WADA’s decision. I call to continue dialogue and search for a solution, even if this seems to be impossible sometimes," he said.

RUSADA was recognized as non-compliant to the WADA code in November 2015. After that, RUSADA and WADA coordinated a roadmap to restore the Russian anti-doping system.