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WADA chief Reedie says Russian doping scandal is ‘the worst’ in organization’s history

In 2016, the WADA Independent Commission delivered a report, which stated in particular that Russia allegedly employed a state-sponsored doping system; Russia denied the accusations
WADA President Craig Reedie Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
WADA President Craig Reedie
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

KATOWICE /Poland/, November 5. /TASS/. President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Sir Craig Reedie said on Tuesday he believed that the doping scandal involving Russia was ‘the worst’ in the entire history of the global organization.

This Sunday, on November 10, WADA will be celebrating the 20-year anniversary since its foundation. The so-called Russian doping scandal emerged in 2015 with Richard Pound’s probe into reported doping manipulations in the Russian track and field athletics body.

In 2016, the WADA Independent Commission chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren delivered a report, which stated in particular that Russia allegedly employed a state-sponsored doping system. These accusations are denied by the authorities of Russia.

"The worst case of the system failure, certainly in my time as president, if not in the entire history of the anti-doping movement, has been with Russia," WADA President Reedie said addressing the 5th World Conference on Doping in Sport, hosted by Poland’s Katowice on Tuesday.

"The revelations exposed by the WADA-led investigations of Richard Pound and Richard McLaren forced a sea change in attitude around the globe," Reedie continued. "Confirmation of that unprecedented level of cheating left the sports world in no doubt of the scale of the job facing WADA and has re-awakened all stakeholders to the importance of sports integrity."

"Since then, with help from partners, WADA has helped rebuild the Russian Anti-Doping Agency into the fully operational National Anti-Doping Organization it is today, ensuring that the anti-doping program could resume effectively across that massive and sports-passionate nation," the WADA president stated.

The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on September 20, 2018 on condition that before December 31, 2018 WADA experts would be granted access to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.

"The WADA Executive Committee’s decision of September 2018 to reinstate RUSADA after three years of non-compliance, under the strictest of conditions, broke a long-standing impasse between the Agency and the Russian authorities," Reedie said. "By imposing these conditions, we have now gained access to the data and samples contained within the Moscow Laboratory that was, for so long, out of reach."

"It is currently being used to bring more cheats to justice with dozens of cases now proceeding through the various judicial channels," the WADA chief stressed.

WADA announced on September 23 that it had initiated a probe into the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency with the Code of the world’s governing anti-doping body based on the inconsistencies reportedly discovered in the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

"Evidence — uncovered by WADA — that a portion of the data may have been manipulated is still being investigated and sparked a fresh compliance procedure being brought by WADA in September this year against RUSADA," Reedie said.

Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).

"It should be noted that this latest procedure was brought under the legal framework of the new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories, which was not in force when RUSADA was first declared non-compliant in 2015," he continued.

"Clearly, we have all faced pressures to deal with the Russian situation effectively," Reedie stated. "Athletes need to know they are being protected and they expect us — WADA and the anti-doping community — to step up the fight."

Chair of the WADA Compliance Review Committee Jonathan Taylor told TASS a few weeks ago that a decision on the expediency of imposing sanctions on RUSADA may be made at an extraordinary session of the WADA Executive Committee, which will take place after November 7 already under the organization’s new president.