Russia Banned From Olympics And World Cup Over Doping Scandal
Russia has been banned from all major sporting events due to tampering with anti-doping data.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unanimously agreed to ban the country for four years during a meeting in Lausanne today, December 9, meaning they will not be represented at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo or at the 2022 World Cup.
The decision comes after inconsistencies were found in the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s data, which displayed evidence of tampering to cover up a mass drugs scandal.
WADA has concluded data was deliberately tampered with by planting fake evidence and deleting files linked to positive doping tests, which could have helped to identify drug cheats.
While the four-year ban prevents the country from being represented at major sporting events, including the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Russian athletes will still be able to compete at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo if they can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal.
However, they must compete under a neutral flag and without the Russian national anthem.
The national football team will not appear at the Qatar 2022 World Cup in any form unless they successfully appeal the ruling, though they will be allowed to compete at next summer’s European Championship, as well as host games in St Petersburg, as UEFA is not defined as a ‘major event organisation’ in regards to anti-doping breaches.
WADA president Sir Craig Reedie explained:
The ExCo’s strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the compliance standard which entered into effect in April 2018.
Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.
Reedie went on to suggest the ban has been a long time coming after Russia became embroiled in a doping scandal in 2015, when a report commissioned by WADA found evidence of a state-sponsored doping programme.
For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response.
That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.
As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.
If the Russian Anti-Doping Agency chooses to appeal the ban, the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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