Russia, biathlon saga head agenda at World Anti-Doping Agency meeting

WADA is adamant that RUSADA will continue to be ruled non-compliant until Russia accepts the findings of its bombshell McLaren report.

Published: 16th May 2018 06:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2018 06:17 PM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes (File | Reuters)

By AFP

MONTREAL: The fallout from the Russia doping scandal and a corruption crisis in biathlon will dominate the agenda as World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chiefs gather in Montreal this week.

The global anti-doping watchdog's executive committee meet on Wednesday to discuss the status of Russia's national anti-doping agency RUSADA before presenting an update to WADA's 38-member Foundation Board on Thursday.

RUSADA has been at the centre of a standoff between WADA and Russia ever since the body's suspension in November 2015 following revelations of a vast doping scandal involving Moscow's main drug-testing laboratory.

WADA is adamant that RUSADA will continue to be ruled non-compliant until Russia accepts the findings of its bombshell McLaren report and also allows WADA inspectors into the Moscow testing laboratory.

WADA has set out a roadmap detailing the path RUSADA must take to regain "compliant" status and rejoin the ranks of recognised testing authorities.

The agency has already been allowed to resume doping controls under the supervision of WADA-appointed monitors and the UK Anti-Doping Agency. RUSADA's new director-general, Yuri Ganus, meanwhile, has repeatedly vowed to restore trust in the tarnished testing agency.

However, in the eyes of WADA, RUSADA has still failed to meet two key conditions necessary for it regain its full compliant status, namely granting access to the Moscow laboratory and samples that may have been stored there, as well as fully accepting the findings of the McLaren report.

WADA President Craig Reedie told a symposium in Lausanne in March that Russia failed to respond to four letters requesting a joint inspection of their Moscow laboratory.

Russia's authorities have consistently denied allegations of a state-sponsored doping scheme, a key finding of the McLaren report.

The WADA impasse takes on added significance with the football World Cup due to kick off in Russia in just under a month's time.

Russia's non-compliance has already led to deadlock in athletics. 

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says it will not lift its ban on Russian track and field athletes until WADA declares Russia in compliance with all of its regulations.

That hardline stance saw Russian track and field athletes barred from the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships in London, with the exception of a handful of exempted Russian athletes competing under a neutral banner.

Meanwhile, Russia has been forced onto the defensive in another scandal involving the sport of biathlon.

An internal WADA report alleged that Russia had attempted to buy the silence of International Biathlon Union chiefs to ensure that no proceedings would be opened against Russian athletes with suspicious biological passports. 

"The main goal of the corruption is to protect doped Russian athletes," concluded the WADA report dated late 2017.

IBU President Anders Besseberg -- himself a member of the WADA Foundation Board -- was forced to resign following the revelations.

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