The news first broke yesterday afternoon in the New York Times and yesterday evening the World Anti Doping Agency confirmed that its powerful Compliance committee was recommending the long term exile of Russia from all major international sport.
This could include St Petersburg being removed as one of the venues for Euro 2020 and the Russian team being excluded from taking part in the tournament, potentially freeing up one more place. Scotland finished third in the Qualifying Group where Russia came second to Belgium.
Wada’s Executive Committee is expected to rubber-stamp the recommendations at a specially convened meeting in Paris on December 9th.
The report runs to 26 pages and is damning of Russian practices. It follows on from data which had been belatedly delivered as part of an investigation that took place in January this year and which revealed inconsistencies and certain elements of data having been suspiciously removed.
The clear inference of the material which has come into the public domain is that cheating has been tolerated and enabled on a vast scale.
One section of the report states that there had been “planted fabricated evidence into the LIMS database (purported messages between laboratory staff members) to support the argument now being advanced by the Russian authorities that it was (original whistleblower) Dr Grigory Rodchenkov and two co-conspirators who falsified entries in the Moscow LIMS database as part of a scheme to extort money from athletes.”
The Compliance Review Committee concluded that this is “an extremely serious case of non-compliance with the requirement to provide an authentic copy of the Moscow data, with several aggravating features”.
The penalties which are being proposed are as sever as can be imposed under existing rules and will exclude Russia from global sport for a minimum period of four years.
The sanctions will apply to all bodies that are signed up to WADA, including FIFA and UEFA.
In full the recommendations being put forward by the committee are as follows:
- Russian Government officials/representatives may not be appointed to sit and may not sit as members of the boards or committees or any other bodies of any Code Signatory (or its members) or association of Signatories.
- Russian Government officials/representatives may not participate in or attend any of the following events held in the Four Year Period: (a) the Youth Olympic Games (summer and winter); (b) the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (summer and winter); (c) any other event organized by a Major Event Organisation; and (d) any World Championships organized or sanctioned by any Signatory (together, the Major Events).
- Russia may not host in the Four Year Period, or bid for or be granted in the Four Year Period, the right to host (whether during or after the Four Year Period) any editions of the Major Events.
- Where the right to host a Major Event in the Four Year Period has already been awarded to Russia, the Signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so. In addition, Russia may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, irrespective of whether the bidding takes place during or after the Four Year Period.
- Russia’s flag may not be flown at any Major Event staged in the Four Year Period.
Neither the President, the Secretary-General, the CEO, nor any member of the Executive Board/Governing Board of either the Russian Olympic Committee or the Russian Paralympic Committee may participate in or attend any Major Event staged in the Four Year Period.
- Russian athletes and their support personnel may only participate in Major Events staged in the Four Year Period where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance (i.e., they are not mentioned in incriminating circumstances in the McLaren reports, there are no positive findings reported for them in the database, and no data relating to their samples has been manipulated), in accordance with strict conditions to be defined by WADA (or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), if it sees fit), pursuant to the mechanism foreseen in ISCCS Article 11.2.6. In this circumstance, they may not represent the Russian Federation.
- Given the aggravating factors that are present in this case, RUSADA must pay all WADA’s costs on this file incurred since January 2019 and, in addition, a fine to WADA of 10% of its 2019 income or USD 100,000 (whichever is lower). This is the maximum fine available under the rules.
Sport Ireland had been highly critical, alongside others, of delays in providing data as part of the investigation.
The findings suggest they were absolutely right.
If Russia refuses to accept the sanctions then the case will go forward to the Court of Arbitration in Sport though any case is likely to be expedited and would certainly have been upheld or rejected in plenty of time for the Euro’s and the Olympic Games both taking place next summer.