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Russia reinstated by Wada after doping scandal suspension

A decision to lift the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency has been labelled “the greatest treachery against clean athletes”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has ended a three-year suspension which followed a major scandal over alleged state-sponsored doping.

Leading athletes and anti-doping bodies had opposed the move.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the reinstatement was “subject to strict conditions”.

“This decision provides a clear timeline by which Wada must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples,” the 77-year-old Briton said.

He said the “great majority” of the 12-strong executive committee had voted in favour of the recommendation at a meeting in the Seychelles.

However, a lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov called it “the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history”.

“The United States is wasting its money by continuing to fund Wada, which is obviously impotent to address Russia’s state-sponsored doping,” said Jim Walden.

Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) has been suspended since 2015 over alleged state-backed doping after it was accused of covering up drug abuse – including while the country hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – in a Wada-commissioned report.

Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee recommended Rusada’s reinstatement after it received assurances from the Russian sports ministry, saying the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.

Rusada director general Yuri Ganus (left) with Wada president Sir Craig Reedie
Rusada director general Yuri Ganus (left) with Wada president Sir Craig Reedie

The UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad) had joined with other leading national anti-doping organisations around the world to call for a postponement of any decision by Wada.

But the athletes’ commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday it “agreed in principle” with the recommendation to end the suspension.

Russia was ordered to meet set criteria before Rusada could be readmitted, which included: accepting the findings of the McLaren Report into state-sponsored doping, and granting access to Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme and continued to deny full access and retain control of its Moscow laboratory.

Wada’s stance appears to have softened, after BBC Sport revealed details of a compromise suggested by Reedie and director-general Olivier Niggli to Russia’s Sports Minister that was eventually accepted.

In a letter to Wada president Reedie last week, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the significant achievements in rebuilding Rusada.”

US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) head Travis Tygart said Wada’s decision to reinstate Rusada is “bewildering and inexplicable” and a “devastating blow to the world’s clean athletes”.

He added: “Wada has sent one clear message to the world: we put the wishes of a small handful of sports administrators above the rights of millions of clean athletes and the dreams of billions of sports fans.”

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