(Reuters) - An explainer ahead of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive board meeting in Seychelles on Thursday where it will review the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) efforts to bring about a reinstatement.
WADA’s executive committee will make a decision on whether to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, which has been suspended since November 2015 over alleged state-backed doping. WADA said last week that its compliance review committee had reviewed a letter from the Russian sports ministry it said had “sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia,” thus fulfilling the first of two remaining criteria for its reinstatement.
Russia’s anti-doping agency has been suspended since a WADA-commissioned report revealed alleged widespread doping in the country, although Russia has denied state involvement. WADA has said Russia’s refusal to acknowledge the systemic doping alleged in the report and its failure to allow access to Moscow’s suspended anti-doping laboratory were blocking its return.
If WADA feels RUSADA has met the outstanding compliance criteria, it can declare the body compliant and have them reinstated.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has yet to reinstate the Russian athletics federation but if RUSADA are declared compliant, it could prompt Russia to be welcomed back by the IAAF as RUSADA compliance is key to their respective reinstatement criteria.
It likely means very little as the International Olympic Committee reinstated Russia’s Olympic membership following the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games where the country’s athletes competed as neutrals. During the Games, Russians were not allowed to march under their own flag, nor was their national anthem played at medal ceremonies.
HAS RUSSIA SATISFIED THE “ROADMAP TO CODE COMPLIANCE”?
No. For the agency to regain accreditation, Russian authorities must acknowledge the findings of a WADA-commissioned report that said more than 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from a state-run scheme to conceal positive tests over a five-year period. The authorities must also provide access to urine samples stored at the suspended Moscow anti-doping laboratory.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto