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  • Doomsday Coming for Russian Sport - Reaction


    (ATR) Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency chair Craig Reedie sounds like someone ready to punish Russia yet again for a serious breach of integrity in its anti-doping practices.

    Craig Reedie will lead the WADA EC for his final meeting as chair Dec. 9. (Getty Images)
    “Consider yourself the scale of the data manipulation and deletion,” Reedie tells Around the Rings about the latest report of the WADA Compliance Review Commission.

    That report will recommend significant consequences for Russian sport as a result of falsified and manipulated data supplied earlier this year to WADA. The data was supposed to be the final step needed for Russia to end its conditional reinstatement by WADA, to return to sport fully compliant with the WADA code.

    Apparently that will not be the case. A WADA press release details the recommendations of a four-year punishment for Russia as a result of the rogue data handed over to WADA. The scorching sanctions block Russian athletes from competing in any major event involving a WADA signatory for a period that will include two Olympics. Other provisions ban Russian officials from attending the Olympics and other major events.

    Any Russian athletes who want the chance to compete under a neutral flag during the penalty period would have to be thoroughly vetted by anti-doping investigators. Russia will not be permitted to host major sport events of WADA signatories and will be asked to surrender hosting of any events already on the calendar.

    The sanctions would apply to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, if enacted by WADA and upheld on appeal.

    The WADA Executive Committee will meet in Paris December 9 to consider the CRC findings. Reedie says he expects his colleagues on the committee will agree to punish Russia and more specifically the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

    The ban on Russian athletes would include the Paralympics. (ATR)
    “The Exco will hopefully accept the Compliance Review Committee recommendation. If so, we will assert Russian non-compliance and they have 21 days to respond. If they do not accept the decision the case will then go to CAS for a final determination,” Reedie says.

    The meeting will be the final one on the schedule for Reedie as chair of WADA. He steps down December 31 after six years leading the agency. Witold Banka takes over January 1.

    The IOC says it supports the WADA inquiry into Russia. The violations, if proven, merit drastic consequences says an IOC statement.

    “The International Olympic Committee condemns in the strongest terms the actions of those responsible for the manipulation of the Moscow laboratory data before it was transferred to the World Anti-Doping Agency in January 2019.

    “This flagrant manipulation is an attack on the credibility of sport itself and is an insult to the sporting movement worldwide. The IOC will support the toughest sanctions against all those responsible for this manipulation,” says the statement.

    The IOC says that none of the blame is placed on the Russian Olympic Committee or other sports groups.

    “At the same time, we also note that the report finds that the sports movement has not been involved in any of this manipulation, and that the report does not indicate any wrongdoing by the sports movement in this regard, in particular the Russian Olympic Committee or its members.

    “In this context, the IOC welcomes the opportunity offered by WADA to Russian athletes to compete, where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance”.

    Yuri Ganus, head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, said he expects WADA to punish Russia and its athletes.

    "We are plunging, for the next four years, into a new phase of Russia's doping crisis. The most difficult and tragic thing is that our athletes have become hostages of the actions of our sports officials," he said.

    In other reaction, Umar Kremlev, general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation says the overall leadership of sport in the country is to blame.

    Russian Boxing Federation Secretary General Umar Kremlev. (Getty Images)
    “It is the Russian sports functionaries and the leaders of sports federations that are to blame for this situation, and there is no need to shift the blame. At such a moment when such a threat looms over domestic sports, you need to unite and work for the common good,” says Kremlev.

    The boxing leader says more communication is needed among the various federations in Russia to address long-term change.

    Kremlev and the Russian federation hosted the AIBA men’s and women’s world championships in September. Both of those events are examples of events that would not be permitted under the terms of the sanctions.

    Kremlev observes that the sanctions will be tough to swallow for patriotic reasons as well.

    “After all, Russia plays a huge role in world sports. And it is unacceptable that major sports tournaments take place without our country, or Russia is somehow restricted in rights. All athletes at the Olympics represent their country, which is why it is very important that the Games have a flag and the national anthem is sounded in case of victory.

    "It can be argued that it is unacceptable to go to competitions without a flag, since the athlete’s main goal is to represent the country on the world stage and glorify it. But in current situation, in my opinion, athletes still need to go to the Olympics and show everyone that Russian athletes are the best in the world,” Kremlev says in his statement.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.
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