WADA defends timing of McLaren report

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) insists it acted as quickly as possible to publish the McLaren report following criticism of the timing of its release by IOC chief Thomas Bach.

WADA called for the IOC to decline Russian entries for the Rio Olympics following the damning report by Professor Richard McLaren, which said doped athletes from the nation had been "directed [and] controlled at state level".

The report was released less than three weeks before the start of the Games, and the IOC was criticised for failing to issue a blanket ban on Russian competitors in Rio, instead leaving it to individual sport federations to determine which athletes from the country should be permitted to attend. 

Bach defended the IOC and said the timing of the McLaren report was not the fault of the governing body, while adding: "The IOC is not responsible for the fact that different information which was offered to WADA ... a couple of years ago was not followed up."

But WADA, while recognising that the release has "been destabilizing for a number of organizations", insists it relayed the information as soon as it was readily available.

"The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has taken note of the views expressed by some concerning the timing of publication of the Agency's independent McLaren Investigation Report, which was published by Professor Richard H. McLaren on 18 July, exposing Russian State manipulation of the doping control process; and, the Agency's subsequent recommendations - both that led to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision of 24 July.

"WADA understands that the timing of the McLaren Investigation Report has been destabilizing for a number of organizations as they prepare for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.  However, WADA wishes to factually clarify that the Agency acted immediately on allegations concerning Russia when it had corroborated evidence and the power to do so under the World Anti-Doping Code."

WADA added that an independent commission fronted by former president Dick Pound in response to a 2014 German television documentary found no "concrete evidence to support State manipulation".

WADA president Craig Reedie added: "It was only when CBS 60 Minutes and the New York Times, on 8 and 12 May 2016 respectively, published the allegations from the former director of the Moscow and Sochi laboratories, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, that WADA had concrete evidence suggesting Russian state involvement that could be investigated by initiating the McLaren Investigation, which we did immediately.

"This decision was endorsed by WADA's Executive Committee and WADA's Athlete Committee. It must be understood that Dr. Rodchenkov was heard several times by the Pound Commission in 2015; and that, he never provided the information that he later revealed to the New York Times in May 2016. 

"This information was subsequently corroborated by the McLaren Investigation, which also unveiled a wider implication of the Moscow laboratory.

"WADA's Executive Committee - composed in equal parts by representatives of the Olympic Movement and Governments of the world - supported Professor McLaren's independent mandate, which was to obtain evidence as quickly as possible in the interest of clean athletes. 

"While it is destabilizing in the lead up to the Games, it is obvious, given the seriousness of the revelations that he uncovered, that they had to be published and acted upon without delay."

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