(ATR) The President of the World Anti-Doping Agency says he is “bitterly disappointed” that Russia did not fulfill obligations to hand over necessary data as part of a deal to reinstate the country’s compliance.
Craig Reedie in PyeongChang (ATR)
Russia had until Dec. 31 to turn over LIMS data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory to WADA. The data is a key part of ending the ongoing Russian doping scandal because it can be used by sport bodies to prosecute athletes whose positive tests were covered up by the country’s state-sponsored scheme.
WADA’s Compliance Review Commission (CRC) stipulated that Russia could be declared compliant with the world anti-doping code if it turned over the data by the end of the year. The commission’s decision was subject of much consternation in the anti-doping world, with many athletes speaking out against the compromise.
The CRC is expected to meet again on Jan. 14 to discuss next steps with Russia after the deadline passed.
Investigators from WADA visited Russia on Dec. 21 to retrieve the data from the Moscow lab, but were blocked from doing so by Russian authorities requiring that WADA’s equipment be certified under Russian law.
Following the mission, WADA confirmed in a statement no other attempts had been made to retrieve the data, nor was it handed over voluntarily by Russian authorities. Last week, Russian Anti-Doping Agency Director General Yuri Ganus penned an appeal directly to Vladimir Putin to facilitate releasing the data.
“I am bitterly disappointed that data extraction from the former Moscow Laboratory has not been completed by the date agreed by WADA’s ExCo in September 2018,” Craig Reedie, WADA President, said in a statement. “Since then, WADA has been working diligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport. The process agreed by WADA’s ExCo in September will now be initiated.”
Athletes and officials expressed exasperation with WADA’s need for another commission meeting to rule on Russia’s compliance given the missed deadline.
“I thought the CRC meeting was to establish if the data obtained was complete, valid and unaltered,” Max Cobb, USA Biathlon president, wrote on Twitter. “If there is no data there is no reason to bother meeting. Noncompliance must be automatic as Reedie promised.”
Sebastian Samuelsson, a silver medalist at PyeongChang 2018, echoed that sentiment saying there is no need for a meeting of the CRC because “conditions [were] very clear” for Russia. Samuelsson was one of the athletes to visit the White House as part of an “anti-doping summit” organized by the U.S. government.
“This is why [WADA] never should have compromised in the first place,” Samuelsson tweeted. “RUSADA should be declared non-compliant today!”
Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, called the situation a “total joke and an embarrassment for WADA".
“In September, WADA secretly moved the goal posts and reinstated Russia against the wishes of athletes, governments and the public," Tygart said in a statement. "In doing this WADA guaranteed Russia would turn over the evidence of its state-supported doping scheme by today.
"No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it's time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians and immediately declare them non-compliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline."
Leaders from the National Anti-Doping Organizations, which comprises 16 organizations, said in a statement that WADA must "acknowledge the gravity of the missed deadline".
"We recognize RUSADA has been working with WADA in an effort to resolve these issues, but the conditions agreed on 20 September 2018 were unequivocal and without the data there can be only one outcome," the statement said. "The importance of this situation does not warrant providing a further two weeks for Russia to comply. With the interest of clean sport hanging in the balance, WADA must call for CRC to convene and consider this matter without further delay."
IOC Backs Off
In a New Year’s address IOC President Thomas Bach made it clear that the ongoing situation is only for WADA and relevant international federations to resolve.
Thomas Bach (ATR)
The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in late 2017 as punishment for manipulating the anti-doping lab at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. It also barred Russia from competing at PyeongChang 2018 under its own flag, set strict rules for Russian athletes to compete at the Games, and banned athletes caught in the system from future Olympics.
This kicked off a number of legal proceedings from the Court of Arbitration for Sport creating confusion over the Olympic Athletes from Russia delegation on the eve of PyeongChang 2018.
The IOC lifted the suspension of the ROC just days after the 2018 Olympics, despite two Russian athletes failing doping tests during the Games.
“The IOC sanctioned those entities involved, proportional to their levels of responsibility,” Bach said in his New Year’s statement.
“With its suspension from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee has served its sanction, while in other organizations procedures are still ongoing.”
Written by Aaron Bauer
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