The civil war in global anti-doping has intensified further after the World Anti-Doping Agency was accused by 13 major anti-doping agencies – including the UK and US – of “moving the goalposts” and “sending a message to the world that doping is tolerated” over its willingness to strike a deal with Russia.
In an extraordinary attack the 13 agencies also said they were “dismayed” by Wada’s behaviour. They further insisted that Wada must postpone Thursday’s decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) because the Russians had not met Wada’s open roadmap to return.
Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, said the response highlighted the gravity of the situation. “This is a defining moment,” she told the Guardian. “The roadmap for Rusada’s return was agreed through a proper process by Wada, yet at zero hour they have changed it. It is pretty much sticking two fingers up at the athletes and the organisations that work tirelessly on their behalf. I am deeply troubled by the way it has been handled. To me it looks dodgy.”
In a growing sign of the disillusionment with Wada’s president, Craig Reedie, and its director general, Olivier Niggli, seven of Wada’s 17-strong athletes’ commission separately said on Tuesday that Russia should not be allowed to return.
In an open letter the athletes, who included the former GB Paralympian Vicki Aggar, pointed out that Russia had not yet accepted the McLaren report– which confirmed that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had been helped by a massive state-sponsored doping programme – or allowed independent experts to access the Moscow lab.
“It should not be possible to commit the biggest doping scandal of the 21st century and then be reinstated without completing the conditions that have been set,” the letter added.
Rusada was declared non-compliant in November 2015 after allegations of massive state sponsored doping. But last week Wada’s independent compliance review committee recommended to Wada’s executive committee that Rusada should be allowed to operate again when it meets on 20 September.
Afterwards it transpired that Reedie and Niggli had written to Russia’s sports minister, Pavel Kolobkov, in June to suggest a “compromise” to allow Rusada to return.
However 13 anti-doping agencies – from Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, UK and USA – say that Wada wrongly “shifted the goalposts”.
“We cannot understand or accept that the simple fact that the two remaining conditions – regarding Russian acceptance of the McLaren Report and access for Wada to the Moscow laboratory – remain unfulfilled, and yet Wada’s leading compliance body is recommending the reinstatement of a country that perpetrated the worst doping system ever seen in international sport,” they added.