Sport Ireland Reacts to WADA Russia Decision

Following our story yesterday on the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee to maintain Russia’s compliance with the WADA Code, Sport Ireland has expressed disappointment in the manner in which the situation has been handled.

“This decision by WADA is in no way surprising given the manner in which this scandal has been handled from the outset,” said Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

“It has been stated that September’s decision to reinstate Russia was done so under strict conditions, but these strict conditions have not been met. Russia continues to show flagrant disregard for WADA as evidenced by the missing of the December 31st deadline.”

“It is difficult to have faith in the international anti-doping system when we see little in the way of meaningful action taken against a country that has been proven to have operated a systematic doping regime”.

“Although expected, yesterday’s decision to maintain Russia’s compliance on the back of continued delays, compromises and an obvious lack of urgency on the Russian side is disrespectful to clean athletes everywhere,” added Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May.

“Contrary to what is said by WADA, this situation is in no way comparable to other instances of non-compliance with the WADA Code – this is the single biggest doping scandal to have ever occurred. At a minimum, it would have been expected that Russia’s compliance would have been suspended following its failure to comply with the strict condition of the December 31st deadline, pending the outcome of the analysis of the retrieved data.”

The Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency this week endorsed the findings of its Compliance Review Committee that Russia should not be sanctioned again, despite missing what had been said to be a hard deadline of December 31st to allow access to Moscow laboratories.

The CRC’s recommendation was noted and endorsed without dissent by the 11 members of ExCo who were on a conference call yesterday. Vice-President Linda Helleland noted for the record that she maintained her position from September that RUSADA should have been asserted as non-compliant until the process was complete.

The CRC accepted that access had been granted and substantial material obtained from the Russian authorities, albeit not by the original deadline and that this material was now being forensically checked.

Normally countries that miss a deadline are given three months grace before being referred to the CRC but this was fast-tracked in the case of Russia due in no small part to the intense scrutiny from within and outside sport.

Whether that scrutiny will have an impact should further evidence be found remains open to the vagaries of international sporting politics.

At least Ireland would appear to be on the side of the angels in this case.

John Treacy will feature shortly in ‘Leading Sport’ a new series of interviews with the CEO’s and leaders of the sporting governing bodies that make up Ireland’s rich diversity of sports.


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