MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. A delegation of experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency has begun its work to retrieve data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Thursday.
"WADA experts arrived yesterday and today they have started their work jointly with a group of Russian experts," Kolobkov told journalists. "Representatives of the Russian Investigative Committee and of the laboratory are also participating in this process."
"They have started work on the installation of the equipment and of the data transfer block," the minister said. "The work is done under a complete coordination as we have previously discussed all technical and organizational details, which are in full compliance with the criminal procedure code and all WADA procedures. The work is in full swing at the moment."
"The equipment is in full compliance with the tasks pursued by the experts, it was approved by the Investigative Committee and WADA," Kolobkov stated. "The equipment underwent expertise inspection today, it is being installed, therefore, the process will undoubtedly progress in line with the schedule."
The minister also said that it was not the fault of the Russian side behind the delay in the data transfer from the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab.
"It was a regular work process and we had agreed on all technical details," Kolobkov said. "A minor delay arose through no fault of the Russian side. It was purely an organizational problem and it has been already settled."
A delegation of WADA experts arrived again in the Russian capital on Wednesday to have another try to access the data of Russian athletes’ doping samples for the period of 2011-2015 stored at the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.
The delegation is led by independent expert Dr. Jose Antonio Pascual, who is a research scientist and academic in Barcelona. He already paid a visit to Moscow with his colleagues on December 17, but was unable to accomplish the set task as his group was denied the right to use their equipment since it was not certified in Russia.
The WADA Executive Board reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on September 20 on condition that WADA experts would be granted access before December 31 to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.
Since the Russian side failed to provide access to the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab before December 31, heads of 16 National Anti-Doping Agencies proposed stripping RUSADA again of its compliance status, which means that all Russian athletes would be barred from international sports competitions.
The WADA Compliance Review Committee is set to analyze at its session on January 14-15 information regarding Russia’s implementation of WADA’s requirments on the reinstatement. The Compliance Review Committee will then present a recommendation to the WADA Executive Committee, which will make a final decision in regard to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.