The World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie has warned Russia that it won’t be allowed back in “from the cold” until it acknowledges its massive state-sponsored doping programme and allows its Moscow anti-doping laboratory to be inspected.
Reedie, speaking at the Wada Symposium in Lausanne, revealed Russia had ignored four letters proposing a joint inspection of the Moscow laboratory – where hundreds of athletes’ samples are still stored – alongside the Russian Sports Investigatory Committee. Reedie told the 900 delegates that without genuine reform, every Russian victory would be doubted.
“We made an offer to senior Russian officials in Pyeongchang to visit the Moscow laboratory together but it seems our offer has fallen on deaf ears,” said Reedie. “We have also written to the Russian Investigatory Committee four times to offer our help and we have not had a single response.
“The big losers here are Russian athletes. Their participation in future events will continue to be put in doubt and the rest of the world will not be convinced any meaningful change has taken place.
“Real action is needed. It’s time for this situation to change. If not, it will damage sport – every Russian victory will be doubted.”
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency, which was suspended in November 2015, has now met most of the requirements on Wada’s road map for reinstatement but Reedie said there has been no progress on the final two stumbling blocks despite 15 months of talks.
Along with access to the Moscow laboratory, Russia is required to accept the findings of the McLaren report, which revealed over 1,000 Russian athletes across 30 sports were involved in an institutional doping programme, including at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
“We want to welcome an independent and efficient Rusada back in from the cold – it’s just a pity that progress is so slow from the Russian authorities,” Reedie said. “We have been trying to persuade them to recognise and accept as true the systemic doping as revealed by the investigations led by Professor Richard McLaren and Samuel Schmid, which was the basis of the recent International Olympic Committee decision on Russia’s neutral status at the Winter Olympics.”
Rusada’s new head Yuri Ganus insisted his organisation had made changes. But when asked why it was not acknowledging the McLaren report, he replied. “It’s not a question that depends on us … it’s about negotiation.”
Earlier Reedie denied that the global anti-doping system was “broken” but admitted more work was required to ensure Wada’s rules were being followed in every nation, not just Russia.
One of its key issues remains funding and Reedie welcomed the recent announcement that its £20m annual budget, which comes on a 50/50 basis from the International Olympic Committee and national governments, will be increased by 8% this year.
However, the need for more money was spelled out by Wada’s director general Olivier Niggli. He said Wada had doubled its investigations and intelligence team from three to six people, with a seventh joining soon. But the team is currently only able to deal with 12% of the information it receives from whistleblowers.