RUSADA chief urges Putin to avoid looming new ban

The ban imposed by WADA on Russian athletes was lifted in return for a set of conditions including facilitating access to dope test data from the laboratory by December 31, 2018.

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus speaks during a debate at the 2018 edition of the WADA Annual Symposium.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The chief of Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) called on President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to give WADA access to a laboratory at the centre of a drug scandal, saying Moscow faced a looming new doping ban.

In September, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted a ban on RUSADA, paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports after a report which uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.

The ban was lifted in return for a set of conditions including facilitating access to dope test data from the laboratory by December 31, 2018.

READ: Russia’s Shipulin quits biathlon amid doping probe

“We are on the brink of the abyss and I ask you to protect the present and future of clean sport, the present and future generations of athletes,” RUSADA chief Yury Ganus said in an open letter to Putin.

WADA experts travelled to Russia last week but were unable fully extract the data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

WADA said at the time its team could not complete its mission “due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team's equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law”.

Ganus said that if RUSADA gets suspended again, Russian athletes would not be allowed to take part in international competitions and Russia would lose the right to host international sporting events.

The new ban would undo the success of the World Cup Russia hosted this summer, he said, adding that his team had done its best to win back the “trust in Russia's anti-doping system”.

“This situation cannot go on any longer, it needs to be solved urgently,” Ganus said. “Self-isolation is not in Russia's interests.”

WADA has said its team is ready “to proceed with the full data extraction should the matter be resolved by Russia expeditiously”.

Jose Antonio Pascual, the doctor and independent expert leading the WADA team, will still prepare a report on the failed mission for an independent compliance review committee that meets January 14-15, when Russia's compliance status will once again be considered.