News ID: 262716
Published: 1124 GMT December 09, 2019

Russia banned for four years; including 2020 Olympics, 2022 World Cup

Russia banned for four years; including 2020 Olympics, 2022 World Cup
AFP

Russia was handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and football's 2022 World Cup in Qatar, BBC Sport reported.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

Wada's executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

It comes after Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared noncompliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to WADA as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

WADA said RUSADA has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

WADA vice president Linda Helleland said the ban was "not enough."

"I wanted sanctions that cannot be watered down," she said.

"We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible."

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St. Petersburg will be a host city – as European football's governing body UEFA is not defined as a 'major event organization' with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.

 

How did we get here?

 

RUSADA was initially declared noncompliant in November 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report by sports lawyer Professor Richard McLaren alleged widespread corruption that amounted to state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field athletics.

A further report, published in July 2016, declared Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program for four years across the "vast majority" of summer and winter Olympic sports.

In 2018, WADA reinstated RUSADA as compliant after the national agency agreed to release data from its Moscow laboratory from the period between January 2012 and August 2015.

However, positive findings contained in a version courtesy of a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the January 2019 data, which prompted a new inquiry.

WADA's Compliance Review Committee (CRC) recommended a raft of measures based "in particular" on a forensic review of inconsistencies found in some of that data.

As part of the ban, Russia may not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major events for four years, including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

‘No chance’

 

Meanwhile, the head of RUSADA said that his country had "no chance" of winning an appeal against the WADA ban.

"There is no chance of winning this case in court," Yury Ganus told AFP.

RUSADA's supervisory board is set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal the ban, he said.

"This is a tragedy," he said.

"Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited."

Ganus said that some Russian athletes were contemplating leaving Russia so that they could train elsewhere.

He described the sentiments among athletes as "awful," stressing that four years for a sportsman is a long time in what can be a short career.

The heads of several Russian sports federations said they were preparing to send athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under a neutral flag.

The head of Russia's swimming federation, Vladimir Salnikov, said the country's athletes "must go to the Olympics whatever the situation."

"Of course we'd prefer that our athletes participate under the Russian flag and hear their national anthem. But the circumstances may be different... (and) no-one has the right to deprive innocent athletes of their dreams," he told state news agency RIA Novosti.

"If (participating under a neutral flag) is the only possibility, we must go and win. Our clean athletes, I am sure, will show that they are strong, even in these circumstances," said the head of the water polo, diving and synchronized swimming federation, Alexei Vlasenko.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
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