Russia avoids new doping penalties over missed deadline: WADA

WADA had conditionally lifted a ban on RUSADA in September last year, with one of the conditions being the granting of access to thousands of samples at the tainted Moscow lab by the end of 2018.

A file photo of lab technicians at work in Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow. Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have finished retrieving data from the Moscow lab.   -  AP

Russia will not face new penalties for missing a December deadline to allow investigators access to the Moscow laboratory at the centre of alleged state-sponsored doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Tuesday.

“Several members of the (Executive Committee) voiced their disappointment that the deadline had been missed but agreed that no sanction in that regard should be imposed,” WADA President Craig Reedie said.

Reedie said “significant progress” had been made in “resolving the Russian doping matter”, but WADA warned though that if any doping data from Russia was tampered with, it would take swift action.

Jonathan Taylor, who heads WADA's Compliance Review Committee, said: “If that review were to confirm tampering, the CRC would consider that to be extremely serious non-compliance and can be expected to recommend that WADA pursues the most stringent sanctions.”

This is the latest chapter in an affair that surfaced with Richard McLaren's July 2016 report detailing doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015 involving more than 1,000 athletes across more than 30 sports.

The Canadian lawyer's damning revelations led to Russia's athletics team being barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and Russian competitors exiled from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

WADA had conditionally lifted a ban on RUSADA in September last year, with one of the conditions being the granting of access to thousands of samples at the tainted Moscow lab by the end of 2018.

But when a WADA team arrived last month, Russian authorities raised issues with the certification of their equipment under Russian law.

WADA officials finally gained access two weeks later and confirmed they had “successfully retrieved” all the data.