Russia hit with 4-year Olympics ban for falsified doping data

Sports

Lausanne, Switzerland (CBS News) — Russia will miss next year’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games after the World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned the powerhouse from global sporting events for four years over manipulated doping data.

WADA’s executive committee, meeting in Lausanne, decided that Russia be handed the four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators earlier this year.

Not only will Russia be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, but Russian government officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.

“WADA’s executive committee approved unanimously to assert a non-compliance on the Russian anti-doping agency for a period of four years,” WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald said.

Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

“They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, (that) they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation,” Fitzgerald said.

The independent report by Richard McLaren, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015.

It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations of a vast state-supported doping programme.

Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia’s controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.

“An attack on sport”

The WADA decision was widely predicted, with the body’s president, Craig Reedie, having made a presentation Saturday to the Olympic Summit, participants of which “strongly condemned those responsible for the manipulation of the data from the Moscow laboratory.”

“It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible,” the IOC said in a statement.

“It was stressed by the participants that full justice must be finally done so that the guilty ones can be properly punished and the innocent ones are fully protected.”

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) asked that the Russian authorities deliver the “fully authenticated raw data.”

A majority of WADA’s influential athlete committee had called overnight for a “complete ban on Russian participation,” with nine members of the 17-strong group saying such a move was “the only meaningful sanction.”

“We maintain that the fraud, manipulation and deception revealed to date will only be encouraged and perpetuated with a lesser response,” they said.

Russia reacts

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ban against his country was the result of “anti-Russian hysteria” and should be appealed. “This is the continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria that has already become chronic,” Medvedev was quoted as saying by local news agencies. 

The head of Russia’s anti-doping agency said his country had “no chance” of winning an appeal against the ban, which he called a tragedy for clean athletes.

“There is no chance of winning this case in court,” RUSADA chief Yury Ganus told AFP.

RUSADA’s supervisory board was set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal the ban, he said. “This is a tragedy,” he said. “Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited.”

Ganus said that some Russian athletes were contemplating leaving Russia so that they could train elsewhere. He described the sentiments among athletes as “awful,” stressing that four years for a sportsman is a long time.

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