World Anti-Doping Agency lifts Russia suspension
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has voted to lift the three-year suspension of the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA.
WADA’s 12-member executive committee met in Seychelles and decided to accept, in a 9–2 vote with one abstention, an updated recommendation from its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) in relation to RUSADA's compliance with a roadmap for its reinstatement.
RUSADA was declared non-compliant by WADA in November 2015 following allegations of widespread state-sponsored doping which Russia has denied.
"Today, the great majority of WADA’s ExCo decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the Code subject to strict conditions, upon recommendation by the Agency’s independent CRC and in accordance with an agreed process," WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement.
"This decision provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples with a clear commitment by the ExCo that should this timeline not be met, it would support the CRC’s recommendation to reinstate non-compliance."
—Craig Reedie, WADA President
There were two outstanding criteria to be fulfilled before RUSADA could be returned to the fold.
Those were that RUSADA and Russian sports authorities accept the McLaren report into widespread doping, and that access was provided to stored urine samples in the former Moscow Laboratory.
The CRC recommended that the first criterion had been met, while a commitment to allow access to the stored data and samples would be enough to meet the second criterion, provided this was done within a specified timeframe.
An International Olympic Committee spokesman said in a short statement: "We take note of the decision taken by the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which is made up of an equal number of members from governments and from the sports movement. It follows the recommendation of the independent Compliance Review Committee."
Many were opposed to the reinstatement of RUSADA.
The IAAF Athletes’ Commission insisted that the original roadmap be adhered to in its entirety. Russia remains banned by the IAAF from international athletics over widespread doping.
“RUSADA cannot be declared compliant until all outstanding conditions set out in the Roadmap have been satisfied. We believe that any compromises to the Roadmap will tarnish WADA’s reputation and bring global sport into disrepute,” the athletes argued in part in a statement signed by its 14 members.
Meanwhile, the United States Olympic Committee said any decision must restore athletes’ confidence in clean sport.
"We hope that WADA can reach a conclusion on RUSADA that will give athletes a firm belief that when they compete, it will be on a level playing field, without any doubts,” said newly-appointed CEO Sarah Hirshland in a statement.
“Anything that stops short of satisfying that will not only be a huge disappointment to the USOC and American athletes, but to the entire Olympic and Paralympic movements,”