WADA Committee Recommends Russia Face New Olympic Ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Compliance Review Committee has recommended suspending Russia from international competitions for four years, reported Meduza. The committee developed new recommendations for WADA’s Executive Committee after a WADA report indicated that doping data from a Moscow laboratory may have been manipulated. The Executive Committee will issue a decision after debating the recommendations during a December 9 hearing in Paris.

The Compliance Review Committee recommended banning Russia from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, all world championships organized by World Anti-Doping Code signatories, and a range of other major competitions. The World Cup in soccer may fall under those restrictions because FIFA is a signatory to the Code. However, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), which hosts the soccer world’s European championship, has not signed onto the Anti-Doping Code.

Under the recommendations, only “clean” Russian athletes would be allowed into major competitions, meaning that athletes who have not been suspected of taking performance-enhancing drugs would be able to compete. The athletes cited in a special report prepared by Richard McLaren after the Sochi Olympics would specifically be excluded under the recommendations, as would athletes whose doping test results have been manipulated. Meanwhile, any athletes who are permitted in major competitions would compete under a neutral flag, as noted by The New York Times, and the Russian national anthem would not be played if those athletes win. The recommendations would also ban raising the Russian flag at any major competition that takes place during its suggested four-year ban.

The Committee recommended banning Russia from hosting any international competitions over the course of those same four years. The recommendations also call for any hosting rights Russia has already received for that period to be revoked. All this includes banning Russia from competing to host the Summer Olympics in 2032. Russian Olympic officials had previously said they planned to submit applications for the 2032 or 2036 Olympic Games. Under the WADA recommendations, those officials would face additional limitations in the form of a ban on holding any positions in Anti-Doping Code signatory organizations.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) would have to pay for all costs WADA has incurred in its case since January 2019 under the Committee’s recommendations. Pending Executive Committee approval, RUSADA would also have to pay 10 percent of its 2019 income or $100,000 (whichever is lower) in fines to WADA. That is the maximum fine permitted under WADA’s rules.

The recommendations were triggered by suspected tampering in Russian doping tests between 2012 and 2015. The results of those tests were stored in a database run by RUSADA’s Moscow Laboratory. However, after examining the database, WADA analysts found that the data it contained were “neither complete nor fully authentic.” The Committee believes that “hundreds of presumably adverse analytical findings that appear in the 2015 copy of the LIMS database have been removed from the 2019 copy, and the related underlying raw data and PDF files have been deleted or altered.” Evidence that an unnamed laboratory employee may have helped hide that data was also allegedly deleted from the database.

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