Sunday, February 5News For London

Russia handed four-year ban for doping by Wada

The unanimous decision will exclude the country from the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has 21 days to appeal. Credit: AP

Russia’s anthem and flag will not be permitted at sporting competitions such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar.

Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), stated: “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

However, athletes can participate under a neutral flag if cleared by anti-doping authorities.

The decision follows after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) was confirmed in breach of tampering with laboratory data. They were forced to hand over the investigation to Wada in January 2019. This was due to the conditional clause as part of its disputed return last year.

In 2015, the body was suspended for three years for its participation in the government-aided doping scandal where it was accused of deleting imperative evidence and operating an integral doping system.

After hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Russia was banned from competing in athletics. At the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeonchang, 168 Russian athletes contested under a neutral flag.

Regardless of the restriction, the Russian football team will compete in the Euro 2020 hosted in St Petersburg. This is because Uefa – European football’s ruling committee – is not determined as a ‘major event organisation’ in relation to decisions on anti-doping violations.

The decision was announced today morning during an executive committee at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Rusada has 21 days to appeal after which the appeal will be passed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

What was the overall reaction?

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency stated: “There is no disputing that Russia has committed the most intentional, deep and broad level of corruption on the entire sports world.”

Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said: “This is the biggest sports scandal ever seen.”

Vladimir Drachev, head of the Russian Biathlon Union, referred the outcome as “extremely unbiased”.

Russian railway engineer Boris Mikhlina stated he felt “sorry for the athletes who are not involved”.

“Politicians involved should be imprisoned. There is no doubt that Russian Sports Ministry is involved with doping cases,” he strongly expressed to Westminster World.

His wife, Elena, agreed: “It was the right choice, as in this situation it’s not the athletes, but the country in general that got banned. This is a crime against sports and athletes.”

27-year-old retail manager, Dordzhi Tazaev, disagreed. “It is a bad decision if we think about sport. This is more political than a sports decision,” he stated.

Pratyay Padalkar, 20, plays as goalkeeper for his university’s Futsal team. “The time frame of four years might be too harsh as this would hamper the development of sports in Russia,” he revealed.