The Russian Anti-Doping Agency that came under huge criticism by Dick Pound’s independent commission report recently has been suspended at a WADA meeting in Colorado. This news follows decision of IAAF last FRIDAY to ban Russia’s track and field athletes from competing in international competition.
The decision to suspend Russian Anti-Doping Agency was described by WADA as “a pivotal moment for sport.” This means the laboratory based in Moscow that has processed blood and urine samples from Russian athletes has been decertified and there is no functioning national anti-doping body in Russia to test its athletes in any sport. WADA insisted that firm action was requested following the report highlighting deficiencies in Russian athletics’ anti-doping system and added firm action is now being taken. WADA also Andorra, Israel, Argentina, Bolivia and Ukraine non-compliant and they have been given time March 18 to comply.
Ben Nichols, the spokesman for WADA, said Andorra and Israel were declared non-compliant after it was deemed they did not have sufficient anti-doping rules in place. Nichols remarked Argentina, Bolivia and Ukraine were declared non-compliant for using non-accredited laboratories for their urine and blood sample analysis – this is prohibited under world anti-doping rules. The spokesman revealed Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Mexico and Spain were put on a compliance “watch list” and have been given a period of four months to put things in the right place.
The World Anti-Doping Agency cannot take direct action against non-compliant countries. However, consequences can be imposed by stakeholders like the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and other major sporting bodies.
WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said the message is clear – there will now be greater focus on strengthening compliance work so all anti-doping organisations worldwide are held accountable to deliver robust anti-doping programs. Reedie also commented that our priority is now on ensuring all our partners are fully compliant and have watertight anti-doping systems that protect clean athletes and reassure sports fans worldwide and added make no mistake, we will not rush this process of compliance, we will do it right - the integrity of sport is under threat.
Reedie also said anti-doping in sport is under the spotlight today like never before, and Wada, along with our partners, have begun the work needed on the road to recovery for Russia. The WADA president added the world is watching and we have acted and we will conduct the necessary meetings with the Russian authorities in respect of the non-compliance status of RUSADA that tests athletes in all sports within Russia. He went on to remark that the theme of the day has clearly been investigations and he will now write to all public authority stakeholders and ask them to make further contributions specifically to fund anti-doping investigations. Reedie said following any commitments made, he will then immediately approach the International Olympic Committee to seek matching funding.
The German documentary maker Hajo Seppelt, whose undercover work in Russia exposed a huge chunk of the cheating and corruption, said he was unconcerned by reports that some Russian athletes were planning to sue him and his whistleblowers and added the truth is obvious and overwhelming – WADA’s independent commission confirmed this.