WADA maintains suspension on Russia doping body

A photographer edits pictures during a World Anti-Doping Agency news conference in Unterschleissheim near Munich, January 14, 2016. — Reuters pic
A photographer edits pictures during a World Anti-Doping Agency news conference in Unterschleissheim near Munich, January 14, 2016. — Reuters pic

MONTREAL, May 17 — The World Anti-Doping Agency has maintained its suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) over its failure to follow a roadmap necessary to regain compliant status, officials said yesterday.

Speaking after WADA’s executive committee met behind closed doors ahead of a Foundation Board meeting today, director general Olivier Niggli said there had been no change in Rusada’s status.

“There was no need for a vote (...) nothing has changed,” Niggli said.

Another executive committee member confirmed the suspension was still in force.

“It’s still the status quo,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The decision to maintain Rusada’s “non-compliant” status had been expected.

Rusada has been at the centre of a standoff between WADA and Russian authorities ever since the body’s suspension in November 2015 following revelations of a vast doping scandal involving Moscow’s main drug-testing laboratory.

WADA had warned Rusada will continue to be ruled non-compliant until Russia accepts the findings of its bombshell McLaren report, which uncovered a vast doping conspiracy spanning several years, and allows WADA inspectors into the Moscow testing laboratory.

WADA has issued a roadmap detailing the path Rusada must take to regain compliant status and rejoin the ranks of recognised testing authorities.

The agency has already been allowed to resume doping controls under the supervision of WADA-appointed monitors and the UK Anti-Doping Agency.

Rusada’s new director-general, Yuri Ganus, meanwhile, has repeatedly vowed to restore trust in the tarnished testing agency.

However, WADA maintains Russia has still failed to meet two key conditions necessary for it to regain its compliant status, namely granting access to the Moscow laboratory and samples that may have been stored there, as well as fully accepting the findings of the McLaren report.

Rusada chief Ganus yesterday called on authorities to grant WADA full access to samples being held in the Moscow laboratory.

“We have for a long time restricted access to samples in the Moscow laboratory, which belongs to the International Olympic Committee and the international federations,” Ganus was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

“In doing that, we are violating the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, whose right is to conduct additional inspections,” he said at a forum in Saint Petersburg.

“I don’t understand why we can’t guarantee them access to the samples. Especially since, as you know, this is a matter of trust,” Ganus continued, adding that he has told Russian authorities allowing access was of “the utmost importance.” — AFP

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