World Anti-Doping Agency president Sir Craig Reedie says he is “extremely disappointed” by allegations that Russia manipulated drug-test data after they had been reinstated by WADA in September last year.
Russia will learn on Monday whether its teams and officials face a four-year ban from competing in and hosting international sporting events over manipulation of drug-testing data.
The executive committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), on which Reedie sits, meets in Lausanne to consider recommendations from its independent compliance review committee (CRC) to impose a fresh suspension on Russia, which could bar the country from sending a team to next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
WADA Compliance Review Committee recommends series of strong consequences for RUSADA non-compliance: https://t.co/O1wpVrnKXs
— WADA (@wada_ama) November 25, 2019
The CRC made its recommendations based on evidence presented to it by WADA’s intelligence and investigations (I&I) team which found there were inconsistencies in data handed over to WADA in January 2019 by Russia under the terms of its reinstatement to compliance in September 2018. Russia was first declared non-compliant in November 2015.
The data provided in January 2019 was inconsistent with a copy of the database supplied to WADA by a whistleblower in 2017, in that positive findings present in 2017 were missing from the 2019 data. The I&I team found that some of the manipulation and deletion had occurred as recently as December 2018 and January 2019 – after reinstatement.
“The I&I have produced very compelling evidence that there was manipulation and deletion of items of data and they do mention that some of this was done at almost exactly the same time that we were in the laboratory in Moscow in January 2019,” Reedie told the PA news agency.
“If that is proven and that is the case, I am extremely disappointed because the whole point of the decision taken in September 2018 (to reinstate) was to get in and study the data.
“And having extracted the data and done all the work on it, it’s very disappointing to discover someone had tampered with it.”
There are set to be exemptions to the suspension – with Russia’s ability to host matches and compete in Euro 2020 next summer unaffected, because European football’s governing body does not fall under the definition of a Major Events Organisation under the international compliance code.
Reedie said that may be an area that his successor as WADA president Witold Banka – who starts work on January 1, 2020 – may want to address.
“At the moment yes the compliance standard does not regard UEFA as an independent signatory of the world anti-doping code,” he said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all that at some future stage when all of this settles down that WADA under its new president may want to look at the compliance standard and make sure it’s fit for purpose.”
The recommendations also stated that some athletes would be able to compete, if they could demonstrate that they were not in any way implicated by the non-compliance.
Should WADA’s executive committee assert its support for the CRC recommendations and Russia contests the case, it would be up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make a ruling.