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Sport – a space for trust

May 29, 2017, 20:11 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

Olympics and global sports have been hit by the doping scandals for several years in a row now. In the current international environment, the problem of widespread abuse of banned substances is clearly politically biased, which only adds to its complexity. The publics confidence in athletes, results of major championships and the global sports management system has been shattered. Russia appears to be at the heart of the problem. Today, Russia demonstrates nationwide commitment to doping-free sports through amending relevant laws and regulations, rolling out anti‑doping reforms and maximising interaction with international sports bodies.

In recent years, there has been a negative campaign against Russian sports with the news on numerous anti-doping violations by Russian athletes.

  • Overseas revelations of the former head of a Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov served as the basis for the Richard McLaren's report and prompted an unprecedented response.
  • Dozens of athletes were disqualified and stripped of awards, there is a blanket ban on Russian athletes from some sports and some major competitions, the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA lost its international accreditation.

Russian officials repeatedly stated that there is no state-sponsored doping system in the country as some Western politicians have alleged. Now, Russia strives to eliminate all identified deficiencies.

  • In December 2016, Vladimir Putin said: "There has never been a state system and no other system to supporting doping in Russia, this is simply impossible. As in any other country, there are doping-related issues in Russia, we must admit it. The Prosecutor General's Office is investigating all possible instances of doping abuse and will definitely come up with results."

Serious measures are being taken to combat doping, as well as to restore and improve Russia's standing within the international sports community.

  • In pursuance of the President’s instructions, the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC) was established, which developed a national plan to tackle doping in Russian sports. Currently, the document is under review by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
  • IPADC launched a whistleblower hotline to combat illegal drugs and cases of encouraging their use.
  • Following the recommendations of WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a criminal law on "encouraging the use of doping substances", with a penalty ranging from a large fine to a 3‑year imprisonment, was promptly drafted and adopted.
  • The Federal Training Centre for Sports Reserve has developed and put forward for public discussion a new professional standard for athletes prescribing awareness of and adherence to all anti-doping rules.
  • The principle of maximum transparency for international anti-doping audits is in place. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko responsible for the country's sports said late May that the national winter sports federations encouraged the relevant international organisations to have Russian athletes tested "as frequently as every day."

Bringing RUSADA back under the jurisdiction of WADA is of utmost importance.

  • It is expected that in June RUSADA will get the right to test Russian athletes independently, and in November it will be reinstated.

Russia also shows its readiness to factor in WADA's opinion on RUSADA’s reform process to the extent possible.

  • In particular, it was partially WADA’s position to remove Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva as chair of RUSADA’s supervisory board to eliminate even the slightest suspicion that the Agency depends on the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and state bodies.
  • The Agency is still in an extensive and phased process of searching for a candidate to head RUSADA.
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