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  • Russia Avoids WADA Penalty Despite Missed Deadline


    01/22/19

    (ATR) Russia will face no sanctions for turning over data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory late, but the World Anti-Doping Agency says the country could miss the 2020 Olympics, should the data be inauthentic.

    Russia was sanctioned at PyeongChang 2018 (ATR)
    WADA leaders defended the decision to uphold the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s compliance following the successful retrieval of data from the Moscow lab in a conference call with reporters.

    “You will also see that in the letter [from the committee] we considered the fact that the data was provided late; it was provided after the deadline,” Jonathan Taylor, chair of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee, said to reporters.

    “In the usual case the signatory would be given three months to correct. In this case a fast-track procedure was used instead.”

    Russia was able to quickly deliver the data to WADA, meaning there would be no sanctions for the missed deadline. Taylor said that the CRC could not operate under “old rules", despite the gravity of the situation and lack of precedent surrounding the Russian doping scandal.

    Reports will be produced for the CRC every two weeks during the authentication process, and an independent team will be verifying that the data was not manipulated after Nov. 10, 2015.

    Severe consequences have been put on record by the CRC should data be found to be manipulated. The CRC will notify RUSADA immediately about a breach in compliance, and could recommend that Russia be stripped of hosting World Championships for a period, and barred from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    “[The letter] is for information that’s not for recommendation, if and when it happens we’ll follow due process,” Taylor said about the possible sanctions. “The CRC wanted to be clear how seriously it would regard evidence if there had been tampering with the data, and you see it black and white in our letter.”

    WADA President Craig Reedie said that he “thinks we have moved forward” with getting Russia to be compliant thanks to the September decision by the CRC. WADA’s goal was never to ensure that Russia was permanently declared non-compliant in the sporting world, and that “I’m very pleased this degree of process has been made and we significantly moved forward”.

    Now the work comes for WADA to authenticate the Moscow data and then immediately work to confirm anti-doping rule violations for Russian athletes whose samples were manipulated in the scandal.

    WADA must work to authenticate the data from Moscow (Getty Images)
    Gunter Younger, Director of the WADA Intelligence & Investigations Department, said that WADA has identified a number of “suspicious” cases from the LIMS data already in its possession. These cases will then have to be confirmed by the more than 20 terabytes of data retrieved from Moscow before any prosecution can begin.

    “We need the complementary data to establish stronger cases because our lab experts they say we need more data to be 100 percent sure these substances are found in the sample,” Younger said. “Then we will look if there are samples available. Either we have them or they are in the Moscow lab, and we will ask Moscow to provide those samples.”

    After concluding that an athlete’s sample contains a banned substance it will send the information to relevant international federations for sanctioning. Younger said that WADA “will not stop before we investigated every case that we have,” from the data. If federations decline to pursue sanctions, WADA will then consult its legal department and potentially appeal that decision to seek a sanction.

    “We are going to go as long as the experts will say there is enough evidence to sanction these athletes,” Younger added.

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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