Russia’s sports officials cry foul as WADA eyes 4-year Olympic ban - GulfToday

Russia’s sports officials cry foul as WADA eyes 4-year Olympic ban

Russia’s sports officials cry foul as WADA eyes 4-year Olympic ban

Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) director general Yury Ganus gestures he expected the country to be barred from all sporting competition for four years. Agence France-Presse

Russia’s sports official lambasted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) committee’s recommendations for imposing a four-year Olympic ban on the country, terming the punishment as too severe.

If imposed, the ban will see Russia missing next two Olympics and world championships across many sporting disciplines. WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee recommended a blanket ban after they found the data, provided by Moscow, was manipulated.

Many Russia top sports officials expressed their concern and disapproved of the recommendations.

“It’s sad. I can only call these recommendations unfair,” Umar Kremlev, head of Russia’s boxing federation, said in a statement.

“Russia plays an important role in the development of global sport. How can such a country be banned?” The committee’s recommendations will be put to the agency’s executive committee in Paris on Dec. 9.

For Dmitry Svishchev, president of Russia’s curling federation, the country has already sufficiently been punished for its doping scandals.

“These recommendations are harsh, baseless punishment for old problems for which Russia has already been punished,” he told Reuters.

“Russia has made great progress in fighting doping. To punish the next generation in such a harsh manner is too much.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov linked the recommendations to what he called broader attempts by Western countries to reprimand Russia.

“The more these types of decisions are made, the better it is... for their anti-Russian argument,” Lavrov said.

Russia was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for alleged state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But some Russian athletes with no history of doping were cleared to compete as neutrals. Under the latest recommendations, some Russians without a history of doping could be cleared to compete in major international events as neutrals, as was the case in Pyeongchang.

The IOC said in a statement it welcomed the opportunity for clean Russian athletes to compete, saying WADA did not indicate “any wrongdoing by the sports movement in this regard, in particular the Russian Olympic Committee or its members.”

The committee also recommended barring Russia from hosting major sporting events for four years, and moving major events for which Russia has already won hosting rights elsewhere “unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so.”

Russia is currently set to host the 2023 men’s world ice hockey championships. St Petersburg is due to host four matches in the 2020 European championships and was selected to host the Champions League final in 2021. These fixtures may not be affected by a new WADA ban as European football’s organising body UEFA is not on its list of signatories.

“Given that UEFA is not a WADA signatory and Russian soccer players have not been caught doping, I am 99.9% certain that nothing will happen with the Euro next year,” parliamentarian Igor Lebedev, a former member of the Russian Football Union’s executive committee, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Euro 2020 football tournament is excluded from the ban on Russia recommended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after it accused Moscow of falsifying laboratory data handed over to investigators, a source said on Tuesday.

The WADA source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the European championships were “not a ‘major event and not a world championships” so were exempt from the four-year ban from major sporting competitions on Russia proposed by a key WADA committee earlier in the day.

The Russian city of Saint Petersburg is one of 12 locations across Europe scheduled to host matches in next year’s tournament.

In a statement on Monday, WADA’s Compliance Review Committee called for the sanctions, which would see Russia banned from next year’s Tokyo Olympics, to be approved at a WADA executive committee meeting in Paris on December 9.

Agencies