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WADA excludes Russia four years from Olympic Games and World Cup


The biggest sanction in the history of sport: Russia will not be able to participate in the Olympics or the World Cup. The World Anti-Doping Agency has excluded the country from international competitions for four years. However, innocent athletes may participate under a neutral flag.

Photo by Kyle Dias on Unsplash

Doping, reasons why Russia is out of the Olympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced an unprecedented sanction on Monday the 9th of December. Russia will be off the sports map for the next four years. Neither its flag nor its anthem will be present at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (2020) or Beijing (winter, 2022) or at the World Cup in Qatar.

The announcement of the executive committee of the entity held in Lausanne (Switzerland) shook the world of sports. The decision was taken by unanimity of its 12 members, according to spokesman James Fitzgerald. Russia will not be able to organise any sporting event during this period either. The reason, broadly speaking, is the tampering of doping-positive data in the Moscow laboratory. Because the rehabilitation of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency depended on such a review.

In the 26-page report, the CRC (Compliance Review Committee) came to this conclusion. In other words, the Russian authorities had tampered, to hide positives, with the data that WADA itself had collected from this Moscow laboratory last January. The delivery of thousands of raw control data stored on Russian servers, under the surveillance of Russia’s powerful Research Committee, was a strict condition imposed by WADA to lift, at the end of 2018, the previous suspension of Russia.

Origins of the biggest sports scandal

This is where the scandal originated: when in 2016 Grigory Rodchenko, who was responsible for Sochi’s anti-doping laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics, fled to the United States after uncovering his country’s state doping through the McLaren report.
His predictions came true on Monday when Russia received the greatest punishment in the history of sports. Although it is possible to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days.

If Russia has already disappeared from the sports map at the Rio Olympics, the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games and the last two World Athletics Championships, its athletes will not be present at the next major events either. Unless they can “prove that they are not involved in the doping programs described in the ‘McLaren’ report or that their samples have not been falsified,” WADA said. In that case, they would take part under a “neutral” flag.

The punishment, however, will not affect next summer’s European Football Champions League, in which St. Petersburg is one of the venues. The reason is that it is a continental tournament organised by the UEFA.