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Russia To Be Banned From International Competition Due To Anti-Doping Non-Compliance


In an announcement made by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) yesterday, WADA's Executive Committee (ExCo) unanimously endorsed a recommendation that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period of four years.

WADA had found evidence of widespread Russian doping four years ago. At that time, WADA reported that there were at least 643 positive tests that had been hidden by authorities. This resulted in the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) and 111 athletes being banned for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. WADA has now found evidence that the data provided by RUSADA for reinstatement was also tampered with, thus leading to this current declaration of non-compliance.

Due to this declaration of non-compliance, Russian athletes will be banned from international sporting competitions during that period of four years. Specifically, this will not allow Russia to participate in the Tokyo Summer Olympics this coming year, the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022, or the soccer World Cup in Qatar, which will also be held in 2022. Other consequences extending beyond athlete participation are as follows:
  • Russian Government officials/representatives may not be appointed to sit and may not sit as members of the boards or committees or any other bodies of any Code Signatory (or its members) or association of Signatories.
  • Russian Government officials/representatives may not participate in or attend any of the following events held in the Four-Year Period: (a) the Youth Olympic Games (summer and winter); (b) the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (summer and winter); (c) any other event organized by a Major Event Organisation; and (d) any World Championships organized or sanctioned by any Signatory (together, the Major Events).
  • Russia may not host in the Four-Year Period or bid for or be granted in the Four-Year Period, the right to host (whether during or after the Four-Year Period) any editions of the Major Events.
  • Where the right to host a Major Event in the Four-Year Period has already been awarded to Russia, the Signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so. In addition, Russia may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, irrespective of whether the bidding takes place during or after the Four-Year Period.
  • Russia’s flag may not be flown at any Major Event staged in the Four-Year Period.
  • Neither the President, the Secretary-General, the CEO, nor any member of the Executive Board/Governing Board of either the Russian Olympic Committee or the Russian Paralympic Committee may participate in or attend any Major Event staged in the Four-Year Period.
  • Russian athletes and their support personnel may only participate in Major Events staged in the Four-Year Period where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance with conditions including (without limitation) that they are not mentioned in incriminating circumstances in the McLaren reports, there are no positive findings reported for them in the database and no data relating to their samples has been manipulated, and that they have been subject to adequate in-competition and out-of-competition testing prior to the event in question according to WADA, in accordance with strict conditions to be defined by WADA (or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), if it sees fit), pursuant to the mechanism foreseen in ISCCS Article 11.2.6. In this circumstance, they may not represent the Russian Federation.
  • Given the aggravating factors that are present in this case, RUSADA must pay all WADA’s costs on this file incurred since January 2019 and, in addition, a fine to WADA of 10% of its 2019 income or USD 100,000 (whichever is lower). This is the maximum fine available under the rules and all monies must be paid before the end of the Four-Year Period.
“The ExCo’s strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018. Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial. As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.

“On behalf of the ExCo, and of the many WADA stakeholders that supported the CRC recommendation, I would like to thank the members of the CRC for their expert and considered recommendation, as well as WADA I&I and the forensic experts for their skill, diligence and perseverance in getting to the bottom of this highly complex case.”
- Spoken by WADA President Sir Craig Reedie


This new ban will not mean that all Russain athletes will be sitting out from major world competitions. Any athletes that can prove that they were not involved in the institutionalized doping program, that their data was not manipulated, and have been adequately tested prior to competition will be able to compete under a neutral banner.

There is another chance, however, for Russia to be able to compete on the world stage. RUSADA has 21 days to contest this new ban. However, if the appeal fails, all of the conditions for the four-year ban will be recognized and enforced.

Photo Credit: Ivanaivanova [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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