WADA chief ready for 'precedent-setting' action

In May, WADA set up a new investigation under Professor Richard McLaren, a longstanding member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). "If his report indicates transgressions of any kind, then there will be a precedent-setting opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to cleaning up sport," said WADA chief Craig Reedie.

WADA head Craig Reedie repeated his calls for increased WADA funding from national governments.   -  AP

Craig Reedie, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), indicated Monday he would be prepared to back "precedent-setting action" against Russia following suggestions the country's entire team could be banned from August's Olympic Games in Rio.

The founding president of WADA, Dick Pound, told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that such a ban was "not impossible".

Friday saw the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) uphold an international ban on Russia's track and field competitors first imposed in November after a WADA team led by veteran Canadian sports administrator Pound revealed state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in Russian athletics.

The Russia team is now ruled out of all events in athletics in Rio, although Russian athletes training outside the country can apply to compete as neutrals at the August 5-21 event in Brazil. The IAAF's decision was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday.

But there are fears that the scale of Russia's doping extend beyond just track and field, with swimming said to be another sport that has broken the rules.

In May, WADA set up a new investigation under Professor Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and longstanding member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), into allegations of state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

McLaren, who is due to deliver his full report by July 15, said in a preliminary statement on Friday he had evidence that Russia's Ministry of Sport was involved in instructing a Moscow laboratory to "not report positive sample results over the period before, during and after" the 2013 World Athletics Championships.

"In the coming weeks, we will learn the outcome of our independent McLaren investigation," Reedie, speaking at the WADA symposium at London's Lord's Cricket Ground, said Monday.

"If his report indicates transgressions of any kind, then there will be a precedent-setting opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to cleaning up sport," added the veteran British sports administrator, who reiterated WADA's support for the IAAF ban on Russia.

Reedie, pressed on what he meant by "precedent-setting action", added: "WADA does not have the power to determine which sports do what.

"If McLaren produces detailed corroborative evidence that goes beyond athletics, we are concerned... We will respond firmly and effectively."

Meanwhile Reedie repeated his calls for increased WADA funding from national governments and also suggested that, for the first time, broadcasters and media rights-holders might want to contribute to the budget.

Reedie said WADA was "punching above its weight" on a budget of under $30 million a year, which he noted was less than the annual income of Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, recently banned for a doping violation.

Reedie added that 0.5 percent of the worldwide sports television rights market would produce a WADA budget of $175 million and that it was in the rights-holders' interest to promote clean sport.