TOKYO (Reuters) - The discovery of inconsistencies in the historical data handed over by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was a disappointment not an embarrassment for the World Anti-Doping Agency, president Craig Reedie told Reuters on Monday.
WADA said on Monday it had opened compliance proceedings against RUSADA after examining the 24 terabytes of historical testing data from a Moscow laboratory which it received in January.
“I think it’s disappointing but I don’t think it’s an embarrassment because the whole point of the exercise was to get access to the information so we could then put together cases that international federations could prosecute against athletes that have been cheating,” Reedie said in an interview.
“We’ve done that, we have 47 cases underway at the moment and potentially an awful lot more. We’ve now found some inconsistencies, we’re going to deal with it, we’re going to deal with it properly.
“The alternative is to rebuild the Russian Anti-Doping Agency over a number of years, which we did do, then not make them compliant. Which is to do nothing.”
RUSADA has three weeks to answer 30 questions relating to the data and Alexander Ivlev, chairman of RUSADA’s supervisory board, told Interfax news agency that it would.
Reedie said WADA were taking great care to go through the process properly and that the new compliance proceedings were about discovering the reason behind the inconsistencies.
“We don’t know yet whether it’s tampering or manipulation or whatever else it might be,” he added.
“Since the rules state that if we assert non-compliance and the Russians don’t accept it, it will be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), so you have to be very careful, you have to know exactly what happened and that’s the process we’re involved in.”
WADA came in for a lot of criticism when RUSADA was made compliant last September despite not having completed the roadmap laid out for reinstatement in the wake of the huge doping scandal that had rocked Russian sport.
Reedie still thinks it was the right decision.
“The alternative to not attempting to break the impasse was not acceptable, we had to do something,” the Scot said.
“I think that was the correct decision because for us to prosecute cases, we need clear and detailed information.”
The first of the 47 cases are already being prosecuted and Reedie was not concerned that the inconsistencies in the tainted data might prove grounds for appeals from the athletes affected.
“We believe that the evidence packages which we’ve put together for the various international federations will stand up to any form of scrutiny,” he said.
Russia was excluded from the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang because of the doping issue and the removal of compliance from RUSADA could threaten the nation’s place at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
Reedie said any further action from WADA would depend on the answers provided by RUSADA but if the compliance issue did end up back at CAS, he thought the process could be completed in time to avoid tarnishing next year’s Olympics.
“If we get to that stage, I hope that this process will be completed as quickly as possible so it doesn’t affect what I think will be a supreme Games in Tokyo next August.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Christian Radnedge