Kremlin blames 'logistics' for missed WADA deadline

WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September, after it was suspended for a state-sponsored doping operation, on the condition that it gets data access by the end of 2018.

WADA has confirmed that the inspectors would start their work in Russia on Thursday.   -  AP

The Kremlin on Wednesday said Moscow's failure to meet the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline last week to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory could be explained by logistical problems.

The remarks by President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov came as a WADA team was scheduled to visit Russia to obtain test data from the drug-tainted Moscow lab.

WADA will consider next steps at a January 14-15 meeting of its compliance committee.

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Peskov told journalists that the data had been ready to be passed to the experts when they last came to Moscow in December but they left empty-handed after Russia raised issues with the certification of WADA equipment under Russian law.

“There were certain working disagreements tied to the nature of the how and on what (data) carriers this is handed over. In essence these were issues of logistics rather than substance,” Peskov said.

“As far as we know... there is an understanding now with WADA representatives regarding how the work will be carried out in the future,” he added, without elaborating.

WADA confirmed that the inspectors would start their work on Thursday, with a spokesperson saying, “The team has arrived in Moscow and they are counting on starting their work tomorrow (Thursday).”

WADA said in a statement on January 7 that the issue of equipment during the last visit “has since been resolved by the Russian authorities”.

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In September, WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), after it was suspended for a state-sponsored doping operation.

This paved the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports. But one of the conditions was data access by the end of 2018.

WADA's leadership has been strongly criticised over its decision to lift Russia's suspension before obtaining access to the Moscow lab information.

The IAAF, world governing body for athletics, said it would maintain Russia's ban. Russian athletics teams were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships in London.