WADA to reinstate Russia after doping suspension

The World Anti-Doping Agency is likely to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) when the agency’s executive committee meets on September 20.

RUSADA has been at the centre of a standoff between WADA and Russian authorities ever since the body's suspension in November 2015.   -  AP

The World Anti-Doping Agency has been given a green light to lift its ban on Russia’s drug-tainted testing authority after a recommendation from investigators, the global doping watchdog said on Friday.

A WADA statement said its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) had recommended that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be reinstated when the agency’s executive committee meets on September 20.

WADA suspended RUSADA in 2015 after declaring it to be non-compliant following revelations of a vast, Moscow-backed scheme to avoid drug testers. A WADA report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused Russian authorities of running an elaborate doping programme with the full support of the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian secret service or FSB.

Russian officials had previously concluded that their doping system failed, but refused to acknowledge claims of institutional involvement.

Tensions within WADA emerged earlier this year over whether Russia had done enough for the sanction to be lifted, with some officials arguing it had not fulfilled a “roadmap” to rehabilitation.However WADA's statement on Friday said its compliance committee had recommended reinstating RUSADA after reviewed a letter from the Russian Ministry of Sport.

“This letter sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia, therefore fulfilling the first of the two outstanding criteria of RUSADA's Roadmap to Compliance,” WADA said.

It said Russia had also agreed to provide access to data and samples in its Moscow laboratory to WADA via an independent expert. That pledge fulfilled the second outstanding criterion on the roadmap, WADA said “provided that the Executive Committee imposes a clear timeline for such access.”

“The ExCo will fully discuss this recommendation during its 20 September meeting and its decisions will be communicated publicly,” the statement said.

WADA added that since RUSADA was banned in 2015, the agency and Russian authorities “have been working very hard to rebuild a credible, and sustainable, anti-doping program in Russia.”

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