WADA chief: ‘Credible’ anti-doping agency in Russia will take time

Russia was banned from international competitions by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in November after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission found evidence of "state-sponsored" doping in the country.

David Howman has been at the helm of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) for over a decade now.   -  V V Krishnan

The chief of the world's anti-doping organisation said on Thursday that it could take months before Russia re-establishes a credible anti-doping body following allegations of state involvement in the practice.

Russia was banned from international competitions by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in November after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission found evidence of “state-sponsored” doping in the country.

The country's anti-doping body RUSADA was declared non-compliant by WADA after it was discovered that positive drug tests had been covered up and samples destroyed.

“We are asking Russian authorities to re-establish a new agency with proper people in charge,” David Howman, WADA director general, said in an interview on the sidelines of a seminar in Tokyo. “It could take months. I have no idea.”

WADA has also requested that an independent international expert join the new board of RUSADA. UK Anti-Doping, Britain's anti-doping body, has offered to send experts to Russia to drug-testing programmes across all sports in Russia.

“For now, doping testing in Russia will be run by RUSADA but under the monitoring of UK Anti-Doping, and we'll see how it goes,” Howman said. “Russia must ensure that they have experienced people who can run the programme themselves, and they need more doping control officers. They need to have managers in charge of the programme who know” how, when and where to conduct anti-doping measures”, he added.

Howman also said that whether Russian athletes can participate in the Olympics is “not our decision” but one to be made by the International Olympic Committee.