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Putin says WADA’s decision against Russian sports unfair and has no common sense

Any punishment for violating anti-doping rules should be individual, the president said

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. A decision made by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in regard to Russian sports ‘is unjust’ and has nothing to do with a common sense, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"In my opinion, this decision is not only unjust, but it also goes against a common sense," Putin said speaking at his traditional year-end news conference. "Decisions were made against athletes competing under a neutral flag at the previous Olympics."

"We do everything to make Russian sports clean," Putin said. "RUSADA [the Russian Anti-Doping Agency] was formed in close collaboration with colleagues from WADA and we even have appointed the agency’s administration based on their recommendations."

"Unfortunately, this decision [of WADA] is more likely to be again of a political nature," the Russian president added.

"The WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter," he continued. "If there are no claims against the Russian Olympic Committee [ROC], the national team must be competing under the national flag, while we have to render support and assistance."

Any punishment for violating anti-doping rules should be individual so that clean athletes won’t suffer, according to Putin.

"Any punishment should be individual. If anyone is caught, then [punishment] is absolutely natural and fair. But if the overwhelming majority of athletes are clean, how can they slap sanctions on them," Putin said.

"Our girls in figure skating, they are very young, what relation do they have to doping? They land quadruple jumps and almost no one does this in figure skating now. They can be also "cleaned out" and removed from the ice like this, but why? Will this benefit global sports?" Putin noted.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee voted unanimously on December 9 to strip the Russian Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA of its compliance status and for pausing for four years Russia’s right to participate in major sports events, including Olympic Games and world championships (clean Russian athletes will be able to participate in competitions in the neutral status) and also to host and bid for hosting world championships. RUSADA has 21 days to challenge the WADA ruling with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

On Thursday, RUSADA’s board will decide on whether it should agree to WADA’s decision. If not, the case will be referred to CAS that will have the final say on the matter.