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Russia slapped with four year major sporting events ban

RUSSIA has been banned from the 2020 Olympics and 2022’s football World Cup — but will be allowed to compete at Euro 2020.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) confirmed a four-year ban from all major global sporting events today after considering recommendations from its independent compliance review committee (CRC) that Russia had manipulated laboratory doping data.

Wada said the decision was unanimous and its president Craig Reedie accused Russia of choosing “deception and denial” rather than getting its house in order.

Russia has 21 days to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), while individual Russian athletes untainted by the scandal will be able to compete independently under a neutral flag.

Reedie said: “The ex-co [executive committee’s] strong decision today shows Wada’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and Wada’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the compliance standard which entered into effect in April 2018.

“Combined, these strengths have enabled the ex-co to make the right decisions at the right time.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] Rusada’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ex-co in September 2018, demanded a robust response.

“That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.

“As a result, the Wada ex-co has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.

“On behalf of the ex-co, and of the many Wada stakeholders that supported the CRC recommendation, I would like to thank the members of the CRC for their expert and considered recommendation, as well as Wada I&I [the organisation’s intelligence & investigations team] and the forensic experts for their skill, diligence and perseverance in getting to the bottom of this highly complex case.”

However, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, having qualified for an event that will see some games take place in St Petersburg.

European football governing body Uefa does not fall under the definition of a major events organisation under the international compliance code.

The CRC made its recommendations based on evidence presented to it by Wada’s I&I team.

The I&I team found there were inconsistencies in data handed over to Wada in January 2019 by Russia under the terms of its reinstatement to compliance in September 2018.

The data provided was inconsistent with a copy of the database supplied to Wada by a whistleblower in 2017, in that positive findings present in 2017 were missing from the 2019 data.

The I&I team found that some of the manipulation and deletion had occurred as recently as December 2018 and January 2019 — after reinstatement.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015 when it was first declared non-compliant.

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) welcomed the ban on Russia in a statement, saying it was the “only possible outcome.”

Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: “We welcome … the decisive action by Wada’s executive committee to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel.

“This was the only possible outcome that the Wada ex-co could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

“We know, however, that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If Rusada choose to appeal this decision to CAS, this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“We welcome the clear and detailed communication from Wada today which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system.”

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