President Vladimir Putin ruled on Friday that the Russian Sports Ministry as well as all of the involved national sports organizations must resort to measures aimed at the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) with WADA and of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) with World Athletics.
The Russian Sports Ministry is now set to present a report regarding RUSADA’s reinstatement process before March 30, 2022 as well as a report on RusAF’s membership reinstatement progress before December 26, 2022. RUSADA-WADA case The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland’s Lausanne upheld on December 17, 2020 WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) previous ruling on a number of sanctions against Russian sports.
In particular, CAS upheld WADA’s decision to declare RUSADA as non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. The court, however, ruled to cut the previously proposed four-year term of sanctions to the period of two years. The Swiss-based court said in a statement on December 17 that the CAS Panel “unanimously determined RUSADA to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) in connection with its failure to procure the delivery of the authentic LIMS data (Laboratory Information Management System) and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory to WADA” in the period between 2012 and 2015.
The Russian authorities deny accusations of manipulation. CAS held hearings on a legal debate between RUSADA and WADA in the period between November 2 and 5, 2020. Appointed judges in the CAS case between RUSADA and WADA were Mark Williams (Australia), Luigi Fumagalli (Italy) and Hamid Gharavi (France). According to the CAS decision as of December 17, 2020, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.
The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan this year. The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for the period of two years.
WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022. World Athletics and RusAF World Athletics suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015, following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and formed a special mission on the issue. World Athletics, however, allowed clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated.
The ANA status prohibits Russian athletes from participating in all international track and field tournaments under the national flag. The World Athletics Council announced on November 22, 2019 its decision to suspend RusAF’s reinstatement process based on charges brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). According to World Athletics, the AIU charged RusAF on November 21, 2019 “with obstructing an investigation and provisionally suspended several senior federation officials for tampering and complicity.”
The provisionally suspended senior officials at that time were then-President of RusAF Dmitry Shlyakhtin and several more high-ranking people from the federation for helping to falsify documents, which Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko presented as his excuse for skipping doping tests. Shlyakhtin submitted his letter of resignation on November 23.
Russia’s athletics federation said on Wednesday it had filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision by global athletics body IAAF to prolong its suspension.
The federation was suspended in November 2015 following a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that found evidence of systematic, state-sponsored doping in the sport.
Federation spokeswoman Natalia Yukhareva told Reuters it had filed an appeal with CAS against the IAAF’s decision to extend the federation’s suspension at its last council meeting in July.
At the time the IAAF said that Russia had made “significant progress” in meeting criteria for reinstatement, but that its suspension would remain in place until the council convened again in December.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and CAS did not immediately return requests for comment.
The move comes days after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conditionally reinstated Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, angering sports bodies around the globe.
The IAAF said last week that RUSADA’s reinstatement fulfilled one of three pre-conditions for the reinstatement of Russia’s athletics federation.
For the federation to be reinstated, Russia must acknowledge that officials from the Sports Ministry were involved in doping cover-up schemes.
Russian authorities must also provide access to data from testing samples at the Moscow lab, which was also suspended in the wake of the 2015 scandal.
Despite the federation’s suspension, a string of Russian athletes, including 2015 world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, have been cleared to compete internationally after demonstrating they are training in a doping-free environment.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has defended its decision to reinstate Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
RUSADA had been suspended since November 2015 for alleged state-sponsored doping, but the move to reinstate them last week has been criticized by athletes and also UK Anti Doping who said it was “deeply troubling for clean sport”.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie told Sky Sports News: “I have a written letter from Russia’s Minister of Sport accepting the conditions that we imposed for the reinstatement of RUSADA.
“One of them was to accept effectively the Schmidt report, which they did, and the important part there was an admission that there was involvement of officials from the Ministry of Sport.
“Secondly, they have guaranteed us access to the laboratory and the time limit we set was December 31.
“I take the view that it is unlikely that senior ministerial officials in Russia would make those guarantees when they weren’t prepared to make them.”
He added: “It is better to move forward, above all to get access to the data we need because there are 2,800 samples we need to look at.
“It is really important that we have a functioning anti-doping agency in Moscow.
“I can’t understand why people would prefer to do nothing and carry on with the situation that existed before when quite clearly there was no move at all from Russia to make any change on the two conditions that had been imposed.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations President, Seb Coe, says they will await an independent report before a decision is made on reinstating Russia.
Reedie added the anti-doping testing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be rigorous.
“Every effort will be made to make sure that every athlete who appears in the Olympic Games in Tokyo is a clean athlete.
“I’m not going to guarantee that we don’t have the occasional sinner but I can guarantee you that every possible effort will be made that it doesn’t happen before the Games.”
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.”
‘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.”
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.”
The suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) has been lifted despite widespread opposition.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is facing the gravest crisis in its 19-year history after it lifted Russia’s suspension, despite pleas from the rest of the anti-doping community that such a decision would be unwise and premature.
The Wada executive committee ended a three-year-suspension which followed a major doping scandal.
Leading athletes, anti-doping bodies and Wada’s vice-president Linda Helleland had opposed the move.
Wada president, Sir Craig Reedie, said the reinstatement was “subject to strict conditions”.
“This decision provides a clear timeline by which Wada must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples,” the 77-year-old Briton said.
He said the “great majority” of the 12-strong committee had voted in favour of the recommendation at a meeting in the Seychelles.
Should Russia be reinstated without publicly admitting wrongdoing for its state-sponsored doping scheme?
That question has caused ferocious infighting at the World Anti-Doping Agency, the watchdog body tasked with stopping any repeat of the widespread drug use and cover-ups that tarnished a sporting superpower.
WADA’s board is due to vote on the issue on Thursday in the Seychelles. If it votes yes, it might push the International Association of Athletics Federations, which is the world track-and-field body, to welcome back Russia, too.
Russia’s anti-doping agency, RUSADA, was suspended in November, 2015, when a WADA report found top athletes could take banned drugs with near-impunity since RUSADA and the national laboratory would cover for them. Later investigations found evidence that dirty samples were switched for clean ones when Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The reinstatement of RUSADA is championed by WADA’s president, Craig Reedie, who has softened two key conditions for Russia, and the move has the tacit backing of the International Olympic Committee.
But despite a recommendation for reinstatement from a key WADA committee, it has provoked anger from other anti-doping figures who feel Russia can’t be trusted to reform without accepting more of the blame.
Athletes on one of WADA’s own commissions, Russian doping whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov and WADA vice-president Linda Helleland lead the opposition.
“I am afraid that by opting for the easiest way out, it will ultimately hurt WADA in the future,” said Helleland, a Norwegian politician who is eyeing a bid to replace Reedie as the organization’s president.
On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee athletes’ commission came out in favour of reinstatement, but that of the IAAF track federation came out against, along with athletes from USA Swimming.
Reedie softened his position on Russia “in the spirit of compromise,” as he wrote to Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov in June.
That means dropping a demand for Russia to accept a report that accused the state of directing doping, and instead allowing it to accept an IOC document with milder conclusions. Reedie deemed it satisfactory after Kolobkov wrote that he “fully accepted” the IOC report, and Russia won’t be expected to make any public statement or address exactly who in the vast state sports structure was to blame.
Critical of the move toward reinstating RUSADA, whistle-blower Rodchenkov said Russia’s priority is “protecting their top-level apparatchiks who destroyed the Olympic Games in Sochi.”
WADA’s Reedie also accepted Russia can be reinstated without providing some key evidence from the Moscow laboratory at the centre of the allegations. Instead, Russia promises to deliver it only after it’s reinstated.
Russian law enforcement – and President Vladimir Putin – haven’t changed their argument that the main guilty party was WADA’s star whistle-blower Rodchenkov. Russian law enforcement alleges that he tricked clean Russian athletes into taking drugs for unclear reasons, then faked evidence of abuses at the Sochi Olympics.
Rodchenkov is in hiding in the United States, while other whistle-blowers such as runners Yulia Stepanova and Andrei Dmitriev, have been vilified at home after reporting abuses by teammates. They say they have been forced to leave Russia for their own safety.
Putin ordered his own investigation in 2016 and some Sports Ministry officials, including then-deputy sports minister Yuri Nagornykh, were suspended. However, that investigation never reported any public conclusions and the officials quietly resigned later that year. Vitaly Mutko, who was sports minister during the Sochi Olympics, was swiftly promoted to deputy prime minister.
It’s largely a symbolic battle for RUSADA but could set a precedent in track and field, where Russia has been suspended since 2015. RUSADA’s reinstatement is one of the conditions the IAAF set before it will allow Russia’s team back to full strength, rather than its current neutral status.
That status means Russian track-and-field athletes cannot compete in international competitions under the Russian flag and have to be cleared as independent athletes.
If Russia is listed as compliant, WADA is also likely to drop its recommendation that the country shouldn’t be awarded hosting rights for new competitions. Some major sports have already flouted that measure without any apparent consequences.
The small world of anti-doping officials may be in uproar, but at RUSADA itself all is calm.
A WADA decision last year quietly restored almost all of the agency’s powers without a formal reinstatement since the number of test samples taken in Russia had plummeted. Speaking earlier this month, RUSADA CEO Yuri Ganus said just about the only effects of Russia’s “non-compliant” status were extra monitoring of the agency’s work and problems asking for assistance from foreign agencies.
RUSADA is on track to be among the most active agencies in the world this year after collecting 7,013 in the first eight months of 2018. That’s almost as many as RUSADA did in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, when it’s accused of routinely “saving” dopers.
WADA says this time the Russian doping test results can be trusted.
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.
Inaki Gomez, Chair
Valerie Adams, Deputy Chair
Mutaz Essa Barshim
World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) vice-president Linda Helleland says she will vote against lifting the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) this week.
Wada’s executive committee meets in the Seychelles on Thursday where they are expected to pave the way for Russia’s readmission into international sport after a major doping scandal.
But Helleland has become the first member of Wada’s senior leadership to oppose the move, insisting the country has not yet met key demands.
“I will vote against the reinstatement of Russia,” she said as the issue continued to cause unprecedented division within the organisation.
Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee (CRC) recommended that its executive committee end a three-year suspension of Rusada, saying the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.
Wada had previously insisted Russia meet two criteria as part of a ‘roadmap’ for its return to compliance: accept the findings of the 2015 McLaren report after an investigation revealed an extensive, government-backed cheating conspiracy, and grant access to its drug-tainted Moscow laboratory.
However BBC Sport then revealed details of a compromise suggested by Wada’s president Sir Craig Reedie and director-general Olivier Niggli to Russia’s Sports Minister in June that was eventually accepted.
Wada defended the apparent softening of its position, but the revelation has sparked an outcry from various athletes and national anti-doping agencies.
Now Helleland – who hopes to replace Reedie as Wada president next year – has also broken ranks.
In a statement the Norwegian politician said: “I can see that progress is being made and I acknowledge the efforts done by Rusada, but as long as the McLaren report is not acknowledged and Wada still has no access to the laboratories, I will vote against the reinstatement of Russia.
“I am in no doubt that the tabled proposal is deviating considerably from the original roadmap and hence I feel I am obliged to defend previous decisions at the Wada ExCo (executive committee). This is one of the most critical decisions the anti-doping community has ever faced.
“I will vote for, and support the original roadmap. This is because I believe you should never make any compromises that undermine your credibility.
“If you choose to reinstate Russia, you defy the very wish of the athletes’ committees around the world, who have very clearly stated that they will not accept a reinstatement now.
“This moment will forever define the credibility of Wada as the independent and strong front runner for clean sport.”
Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme, and have been approached for comment.
In a letter to Reedie last week, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the significant achievements in rebuilding Rusada.”
Calls for decision to be postponed
Meanwhile, seven members of Wada’s athlete committee – from seven countries – have signed a statement in which they say “any compromise… will be a devastating blow to clean athletes and clean sport”.
Ten members of the Wada athlete committee have not added their names to the statement, although its chair – Canadian Olympian Beckie Scott, who resigned from the CRC in protest – is also understood to be in support.
“It is for Rusada to be compliant, not for Wada to change its conditions to make Rusada compliant,” they say.
“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.
“Any compromise on the road map will be a devastating blow to clean athletes and clean sport.”
As the civil war in global anti-doping has intensified, the UK Anti-Doping Agency has joined with other leading national anti-doping organisations around the world to call for a postponement of any decision by Wada.
In a remarkable joint statement, the bodies said they were “dismayed” at what they called “a shifting of the goalposts” by Wada and accused it of “sending a message to the world that doping is tolerated” over its deal with Russia.
“In the interests of athletes we urge Wada to postpone the decision of its executive committee on Thursday until such time as Russia has clearly and publicly met the outstanding conditions of Wada’s roadmap,” they said.
The US Olympic Committee Athletes’ Advisory Council has offered its “full and unwavering support” to the stance.
“By acting on promises, and not proven compliance, Wada’s decision on reinstating Rusada would weaken the increasingly delicate integrity of international sport. Ignoring the established conditions also ignores the athletes’ voice that has been begging for a fair and even playing field,” it said.
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.