Russian anti-doping agency reinstated by WADA
WADA’s decision to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia's anti-doping agency due to the state-sponsored doping scheme revealed in 2015 raises harsh critique from all over the sports movement.
On 20 September, at a hotel in the Seychelles, the executive committee of the International Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to lift the suspension of the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA with 9 to 2 votes in favour of the recommendation of the WADA compliance review committee.
The reinstatement is conditioned on two “strict conditions”, writes WADA in a press release about the vote.
- RUSADA and the Russian Ministry of Sport must procure that the authentic Information Management System (LIMS) data and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory set out in the WADA President's letter of 22 June 2018 are received by WADA (via access to the data by an independent expert agreeable to both WADA and the Russian authorities) by no later than 31 December 2018.
- RUSADA and the Russian Ministry of Sport must procure that any re-analysis of samples required by WADA following review of such data is completed by no later than 30 June 2019.
Yuri Ganus, CEO of RUSADA, was glad about the rehabilitation but acknowledged that there is still some way to go for Russia.
“There’s a lot of work ahead,” he said according to Reuters. “There are conditions ... in order to definitively be reinstated we need to meet these conditions. So it’s a conditional reinstatement.”
Both before and after the vote, there have been widespread protests throughout the sports movement protesting the reinstatement of RUSADA after its suspension in 2015 when an extensive doping programme was revealed.
Olympic skier and member of WADA’s compliance review committee, Beckie Scott, resigned in the wake of the committee decision.
“I’m profoundly disappointed,” said Scott, according to CTVnews.ca. “I feel this was an opportunity for WADA, and they have dealt a devastating blow to clean sport.”
The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations, iNADO, criticised the lack of influence that other stakeholders in sport have had on the decision of the review committee to recommend the reinstatement of their Russian counterpart.
“Indeed, the fact that these pivotal groups in anti-doping will have no say in a decision which has enormous repercussions for them demonstrates fundamental flaws in the construct of WADA governance,” said a statement from the umbrella organisation.
After the vote on Thursday, the IAAF and the IPC have stated that their bans on the country stay in place until the conditions are met.
“WADA understands that this decision will not please everybody,” WADA president Reedie said in a statement about the decision.
“When cheating is as rampant and as organized as it was in Russia, as was definitively established thanks to investigations commissioned by WADA, it undermines so much of what sport stands for,” he said and underliined that WADA will be following RUSADA closely.
“The pressure on WADA to ensure that Russian sport is genuinely clean now and in the future is one that we feel very keenly and we will maintain the highest levels of scrutiny on RUSADA’s operations and independence.”
The two WADA exco members who voted against reinstating Russia were Linda Helleland, current WADA vice-president and Clayton Cosgrove from New Zealand. One WADA exco representative was not present at the Seychelles; Polish minister of sports and tourism, Witold Banká. WADA will elect a new president in November and so far, two candidates have declared their candidacy: Helleland and Banká.