Russia banned from major sporting events for four years

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WADA’s has executive committee (ExCo) has unanimously endorsed the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to declare Russia’s anti-doping agency non-compliant for a period of four years. As a consequence, Russia will be banned from competing as a national team at major international events like the upcoming Tokyo Olympics during the four-year period.

Exactly how the decision will apply to Russian cyclists either for the Olympics or World Championship events remains to be seen.

The decision comes after evidence emerged that a Moscow anti-doping lab had altered data in January of this year, months after RUSADA was reinstated following prior sanctions for state-sponsored doping.

“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,” said WADA president Craig Reedie in a statement.

“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.”

RUSADA has three weeks to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Should the decision be upheld, Russian athletes will have to “demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance” to be able to compete in the specified events. They would do so as neutral athletes, as 168 competitors at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang did under the moniker of Olympic Athlete from Russia during the previous period of sanctions against Russia.

As WADA’s statement points out, the anti-doping organization “now has the names of all suspicious athletes in the LIMS database, and thanks to the painstakingly forensic nature of the investigation, this includes the athletes whose data was manipulated or even deleted, including the 145 athletes within WADA’s target group of most suspicious athletes but also others beyond that target group.”

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