Tag Archives: McLaren report

Paula Radcliffe : Faith in Wada undermined

The reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency undermines the faith clean athletes have in the World Anti-Doping Agency, says marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.

Wada has ended a three-year suspension which followed a major scandal over alleged state-sponsored doping.

Briton Radcliffe is one of several leading current and former athletes to criticize Thursday’s decision.

“This goes against everything Wada is supposed to stand for,” she said.

“It undermines their credibility and the faith clean athletes have in them.”

‘To bank on the Russians is naive’

The Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) had been suspended since 2015 over alleged state-backed doping after it was accused of covering up drug abuse – including while the country hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – in a Wada-commissioned report.

Russia was ordered to meet set criteria before Rusada could be readmitted, which included accepting the findings of the McLaren report into state-sponsored doping and granting access to Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee recommended reinstatement after it received assurances from the Russian sports ministry that the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the reinstatement, agreed by its executive committee at a meeting in the Seychelles, was “subject to strict conditions”.

However, Radcliffe said she felt Russia has “never accepted the harm they did to clean sport globally” and that the initial criteria set out by Wada “shouldn’t have been up for negotiation”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, she added: “You can’t move the goalposts now without destroying the credibility of Wada.”

On Wednesday, the BBC revealed details of a compromise proposed by Wada director general Olivier Niggli to Russia’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov on how to improve the country’s chances of readmission to international sport.

British Olympic track cycling champion Callum Skinner said lifting the ban was “incredibly disappointing” because Wada should be “there to protect clean sport, not there to protect the people they have sanctioned”.

“This is a step backwards in the fight towards making sport cleaner,” he said.

As part of the post-reinstatement conditions, Wada has demanded access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples by the end of 2018.

Skinner said it was “quite troubling” for Wada to rely on Rusada providing this access when it had not previously under the original conditions of reinstatement.

“To now bank on the Russians to hold up their end of the deal is naive,” he said.

What have other British athletes said?

Goldie Sayers is finally set to receive 2008 Olympic javelin bronze after Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, who initially won silver, was stripped of her medal and failed in her appeal against a doping ban.

Sayers, who retired last year, told BBC Radio 4 Rusada’s reinstatement was a “devastating blow for clean athletes” and that Wada had rushed into the decision.

“Leaders in sports governance forget who they are there to serve. We need governance that is there for the athletes because you do feel very powerless at times,” she said.

“There is a credibility issue in sport and Wada have not helped themselves in that at all. You have to accept that you have a problem before you can change and changing a culture takes years and years, not three years.”

Race walker Tom Bosworth called on Reedie to resign and accused the Wada president of having “let all clean, hard-working athletes down”.

Olympic breaststroke gold medallist Adam Peaty said Wada’s decision was an example of “how to lose the respect of all clean athletes real quick”.

Paralympic powerlifting silver medallist Ali Jawad said: “I’m sorry for every clean athlete around the world let down by Wada. We will keep fighting for our rights to compete clean. I promise we will win the fight one day. We may have lost the battle today but we will win the war.”

Commonwealth 5,000m bronze medallist Laura Weightman said: “Wada should be protecting all the hard-working, clean athletes out there, but they have let us all down.”

Grigory Rodchenkov speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan in February 2018

‘A slap in the face’ – reaction from anti-doping heads

US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) head Travis Tygart said the decision was a “catastrophic outcome” for clean athletes and sports fans.

“We all want every nation in the Olympics, particularly those that are competitive and powerful and influential like Russia – but not at the expense of the Olympic values,” he told BBC Sport.

“We trusted them, they cheated like never before.

“This is a slap in the face for those who put clean sport and fair play above sport politics and the influence that money and large countries have within the sport promotion arena.”

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) chief executive Nicole Sapstead said she was “incredibly saddened” by Wada’s move.

“Ukad had hoped the decision to reinstate Russia would be postponed, at least for a few months so that some due consideration could be given to the compromise that seems to have been put on the table,” she told the BBC.

“It’s important an entity like Wada exists – it is there to uphold a set of rules that apply to every country and every athlete. But that sort of organisation has to be beyond reproach, it has to uphold the stands and it has to be held to account when it hasn’t.

“Wada needs to move forward in a constructive way, it needs to repair the damage it has done to the athlete community and to the wider anti-doping community, and it needs to restore the trust we have in it.”

There was also objection within Wada, with two of the 12-strong executive committee voting against Rusada’s reinstatement – New Zealand’s Clayton Cosgrove and Wada vice-president Linda Helleland.

Norwegian politician Helleland, who hopes to replace Briton Reedie as Wada president next year, said the organisation had “failed the clean athletes of the world”.

“This casts a dark shadow over the credibility of the anti-doping movement – it was wrong to welcome Rusada back until they had fully and transparently met the roadmap.”

Rusada’s suspension was imposed in November 2015

The reaction from Russia

Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme and continued to deny full access to and retained control of its Moscow laboratory.

In a letter to Wada president Reedie last week, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the significant achievements in rebuilding Rusada.”

Russian MP and 2006 Olympic speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova echoed Kolobkov’s comments, saying “much has been done” to reform Rusada to “get to this stage”.

“We changed our legislation, we’ve travelled a long journey to correct mistakes and act on Wada’s comments,” she told the BBC.

“Russia has recognised and corrected nearly all the points in the McLaren report. Some of the points in that report even the Court of Arbitration of Sport didn’t recognise and some Russian sportsmen had their medals returned.”

She added that “Russia has been punished enough” and the “complaints don’t exist today”.

“If we keep looking back, at when Russia didn’t do this, we won’t make any progress,” she said.

“Of course, if someone in the West doesn’t want our athletes and Paralympians to compete, you will still hear voices saying: ‘Do not reinstate Rusada.’

“If you don’t want to see Russia as a rival in track and field and Paralympics, then I understand this – but this is more politics than common sense.”

IAAF ATHLETES’ COMMISSION LETTER TO WADA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The IAAF Athletes’ Commission has today sent a letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee for consideration at its meeting on September 20.

The letter reads:

September 19, 2018

Dear Sir. Craig Reedie and WADA Executive Committee members:

On behalf of the IAAF Athletes’ Commission, and the athletes that we represent, we urge you to vote against the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and we ask that the original roadmap for compliance (the Roadmap) be adhered to in its entirety, including the acknowledgement and acceptance of the evidence and facts in the McLaren Report.

The sporting community around the world has spoken and the message is consistent and clear: RUSADA cannot be declared compliant until all outstanding conditions set out in the Roadmap have been satisfied. We believe that any compromises to the Roadmap will tarnish WADA’s reputation and bring global sport into disrepute.

We recognise that Russian sport has taken significant steps forward on the road to compliance; however, given the severity of Russia’s egregious violations to the integrity of sport, the conditions in the Roadmap are appropriate, proportionate and more importantly, grounded on principles of transparency and integrity.

The Roadmap was created and approved by you. Our request is simple: follow the rules that you’ve created the same way we are expected to. You owe it to all clean athletes to be the guardians of clean sport.

Yours respectfully,

Inaki Gomez, Chair
Valerie Adams, Deputy Chair
Paula Radcliffe
Adam Kszczot
Ivana Spanovic
Andreas Thorkildsen
Habiba Ghribi
Christian Olsson
Fabiana Murer
Michael Frater
Mehdi Baala
Mutaz Essa Barshim
Benita Willis
Dwight Phillips

Anti-doping rift deepens as agencies turn on Wada over Russia

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.

Russia ignored four requests to inspect anti-doping lab, says Wada

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.