Today is a crunch day for the battle against doping in sport when the Compliance Review Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency meets in Montreal.
This is the first meeting since the deadline for Russia to open up access to its laboratories in Moscow was missed. That, as well as the decision to allow Russia back into the fold in advance of the all clear was roundly condemned by a large number of Anti Doping agebcies around the world, including Sport Ireland.
Speaking two weeks ago after the missed deadline was revealed, John Treacy of Sport Ireland said “As has been the case from the outset of this ordeal, there has been a continual shift of the goalposts in relation to the reinstatement of Russia’s compliance.”
“That there has been yet another roadblock put in place by Russia is not a surprise and now it is time for WADA to take strong action, convene a meeting of the Compliance Review Committee without delay and declare them non-compliant until such time as all conditions have been met in full.”
“Anything less than this will have a devastating impact on the anti-doping system. Clean athletes globally need to know they are competing on a fair and level playing field.”
Two days have been set aside for discussion but that flies in the face of the urgency being demanded by Ireland , the US, the UK and many more.
Should Russia be declared non compliant they will once again be excluded from competing in major competitions, though individual athletes will still be able to argue a case for competing themselves.
In the Rio Olympic Games, the IOC passed the buck on whether athletes could compete to individual sporting federations. 278 athletes from Russia competed at the Games. The International Paralympic Committee took a stronger stance and did ban Russia.
In a world of geo political maneuvering, it is too early to say what imnpact the ongoing scandal will have on the Tokyo Games next year but another fudge from Wada this week will put pressure back on the sporting world to decide just how far it is willing to go to ensure as best as possible that international sport is seen as being played on a ‘clean’ basis.