A team of World Anti-Doping Agency experts had access for the first time to the Moscow drug-testing laboratory on Wednesday, the Russian Sports Ministry announced. The visit was to prepare access to data and control samples dating back to the period — from 2011 to 2015 — which brought Russia bans for institutional doping.
WADA has made access to the lab a condition of the continued reinstatement of Russian doping agency RUSADA. “As part of our agreements with WADA, the meeting of the technical expert group was held to discuss methods and mechanisms of sample transfer,” said the Ministry of Sports in an announcement reported by Russian agency TASS .
“The experts presented their vision of what needed to happen,” the statement said. “As agreed, they had access to the laboratory.”
The lab had been sealed off by the Russian authorities who said they were conducting their own investigation. The ministry added that the Russian and WADA delegations were each represented by three people.
Not yet confirmed
WADA has not yet confirmed the Russian reports.
The face-to-face meeting was to prepare the ground for the process, which could take days or even weeks, of extracting doping data from the former Moscow laboratory.
WADA suspended RUSADA in November 2015, after investigations, including one by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, found that Russia organised massive doping fraud centred on the Moscow testing laboratory. WADA hopes it can recover data which will allow it to establish a list of samples to be re-analysed — if they have not been destroyed — and then forward the files to international sports federations which could then open disciplinary proceedings.
WADA drew heavy international criticism in September when it voted to declare RUSADA “compliant,” before being granted access to Moscow raw data. It responded by promising it will impose new sanctions if Russia did not cooperate by December 31.
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