(ATR) A three-person WADA delegation visits the shuttered Moscow Laboratory but "some points still need to be ironed out" before Russia grants full access.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, ROC president (FIE)
When the World Anti-Doping Agency reinstated the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in a controversial decision in September, one of the main conditions was the full access of WADA representatives to the suspended Moscow laboratory by no later than December 31.
In Tokyo, where he participated in the General Assembly of the National Olympic Committees, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said that the visit of the WADA experts will have a positive impact on the situation around Russian athletes and will enable them to compete at international events.
On Wednesday, the head of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov, confirmed the visit.
“Today, within the framework of our agreements with WADA, the first technical meeting of experts was held to discuss the methodology and mechanisms for transferring samples,” Kolobkov said.
The experts “were granted admission to the laboratory in accordance with their obligations” and “all procedures are carried out in coordination with the Investigative Committee,” Kolobkov commented.
The group of six people included an equal number of independent experts from both Russia and WADA.
WADA is still waiting for full access to Moscow Laboratory (WADA)
In a statement WADA reported that its representatives held meetings with the Russian authorities in Moscow Tuesday and Wednesday regarding Moscow Laboratory access, and expects to be granted access for a full technical mission in mid-December.
The three-person delegation, which met with officials in Moscow and visited the Laboratory, will now liaise further with WADA leadership in order to discuss logistics and next steps.
"We are preparing for the full technical team to gain access to the Moscow Laboratory and the data before the end of 2018 in line with the strict conditions that WADA’s Executive Committee set for RUSADA’s reinstatement. Progress is being made but some points still need to be ironed out before we can proceed with the technical visit," said WADA Senior Director Science and International Partnerships Dr. Olivier Rabin, who led the delegation.
WADA requires full access to the former Moscow Laboratory, the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and the underlying data of the Laboratory by December 31 or RUSADA will be deemed non-compliant again. If that happens, RUSADA will face stiffer consequences under the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories that took effect on April 1, 2018, according to the WADA.
Rabin said that the raw data is the missing piece of the puzzle that will complement the duplicate LIMS database that is already in WADA's possession and help conclude WADA's McLaren and Operation LIMS investigations.
“For WADA, the sooner we can gain full access to the Laboratory, the better. Clearly, there is a huge volume of data contained within it and we want to start analyzing it as soon as possible. Then, once the data has been fully assessed and verified to be authentic, we would be in a position to assert anti-doping rule violations against those athletes who cheated and to exonerate other athletes." clarified the head of the medical mission.
The Moscow Laboratory’s accreditation was suspended in November 2015 following a key recommendation in WADA’s Pound Commission Report. Its accreditation was revoked in April 2016 and it was subsequently sealed off by Russian law enforcement authorities due to a federal investigation.
Homepage photo: Getty Images
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.
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