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'It's another slap in the face to clean athletes around the world'

Sport Ireland are among those to join opposition to WADA’s plan to reinstate Russia.

File pic.
File pic.
Image: Imago/PA Images

Updated at 14.31

SPORT IRELAND HAS joined its international counterparts in condemning proposals to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), claiming that all the ‘RUSADA: Roadmap to Compliance’ criteria should be satisfied in full first.

The World Anti-Doping Agency previously confirmed that its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) delivered a recommendation to go to WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) for the reinstatement of RUSADA, which would open the way for full reinstatement of Russian athletes, when the ExCo meets this Thursday.

“The confirmation from WADA that the organisation’s Compliance Review Committee will recommend the reinstatement of RUSADA at this week’s WADA Executive Committee meeting is deeply worrying. This is despite the fact that two of the criteria outlined in WADA’s own ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ remain outstanding,” Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said.

“The wording of this document is very clear; Russia must publically accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation, and must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored urine samples in the Moscow Laboratory. Neither of these criteria have been satisfied.

“What is also clear is that WADA has softened its stance on the strict conditions which are laid out on the ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ and it is our view that this is not in the interests of clean athletes and all those who believe in protecting the integrity of sport.”

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, added: “What we ask of WADA is for transparency on this matter. If Russia has accepted the findings of the McLaren Report, it has not been done publically. A letter dated just last week references the Schmid Report, however the letter makes no reference to the McLaren Report. What is also evident from that letter is that access to data and samples in the Moscow Laboratory has also not been granted. RUSADA should not be reinstated before the two remaining criteria have been met — clean athletes who compete on a fair playing field deserve this.”

The president of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) also confirmed its opposition to the proposals earlier today.

“This surprises us,” said AFLD president Dominique Laurent on Tuesday at a media event in Paris.

We must ensure the credibility of the global fight against doping,” she said.

Travis Tygart, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency said Monday that WADA was “in the last chance saloon”.

RUSADA was suspended in November 2015. The following year a WADA report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused Russian authorities of running an elaborate doping programme.  

On Monday, the Berlin-based Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (INADO) accused WADA of seeking to fast-track Russia’s reinstatement at any cost.

“Any reasonable person would conclude that Russia has not yet fulfilled its obligations to the global sporting community,” INADO said in a statement.

WADA must make its decisions based on consistent application of principles and not simply out of expedience pandering to the will of a powerful nation.

“The sporting community is eager to see Russia return as an equal participant but not at any cost.”

Laurent was also sceptical.

“WADA is considering reinstating RUSADA today, but we wonder how the two requirements have been met,” she said. “We have no proof.

“We cannot have rules at two speeds, tough for France but laxer for other big countries,”  she added.

WADA has released recent exchanges, which include a Russian suggestion to hand over the electronic data bank of the Moscow testing lab.

“It’s a joke,” said Tygart. “And it’s another slap in the face to clean athletes around the world.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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