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Russian Anti-Doping Agency to continue protecting interests of clean national athletes

Earlier in the day, the Court of Arbitration for Sport published the reasoned decision to its verdict as of December 17, 2020 in regard to a legal spat between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and RUSADA

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will continue protecting interest of national athletes, who have never violated anti-doping regulations, RUSADA acting Director General Mikhail Bukhanov said in a statement, which was provided to TASS by the agency’s press office on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) published the reasoned decision to its verdict as of December 17, 2020 in regard to a legal spat between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and RUSADA. The published decision of the world’s highest court in sports is 186 pages long.

"As we have stated earlier, not all of the arguments, which were presented by RUSADA lawyers, were taken into account by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but despite this fact we welcome the decision of arbitrators in regard to clean Russian athletes and in regard of the collective responsibility principle, which WADA attempted to impose on the Russian sports on the whole," Bukhanov said.

"We are confident that clean athletes must not under any circumstances bear responsibility for other athletes, who violated anti-doping regulations, and the fact that WADA failed to convince CAS arbitrators to punish clean Russian athletes together with Russian sports federations can be viewed as the victory of the common sense," he continued.

"The principal of collective responsibility contradicts the basics of the Olympic Charter and its possible use could have turned into a dangerous precedent for the whole Olympic movement," Bukhanov stated. "It did not happen and it means that clean athletes, not only from Russia but other countries as well, have a chance for protection from excessive measures of international anti-doping officials."

Bukhanov also said he believed that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was subjected to unreasoned sanctions.

"We regret that RUSADA was recognized as non-compliant with the WADA Code only because WADA did not obtain authentic data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, which RUSADA had never access to," he stated.

"We have repeatedly stated that RUSADA was punished for its failure to fulfil an obligation, which the agency was unable to fulfill in principle, and it was done while WADA representatives were repeatedly confirming in verbal and written forms that our anti-doping work fully complied with the norms of the WADA Code and there were no claims whatsoever. Therefore we believe that the agency was subjected to unreasoned sanctions."

Bukhanov added he hoped that WADA will be proceeding from the realistic roadmap in its work on the reinstatement of RUSADA’s status.

"We look forward for a constructive dialogue with the World Anti-Doping Agency," he said. "There is a grand joint work ahead of us on the reinstatement of RUSADA’s status and we believe that it will be based on the realistic roadmap that will have no place for requirements, which are beyond the agency’s competence."

"In any case, RUSADA will continue protecting interests of clean athletes," Bukhanov added.

The Swiss-based court said in a statement on December 17 that the CAS Panel "unanimously determined RUSADA to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) in connection with its failure to procure the delivery of the authentic LIMS data (Laboratory Information Management System) and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory to WADA" in the period between 2012 and 2015. The Russian authorities deny accusations of manipulation.

CAS held hearings on a legal debate between RUSADA and WADA in the period between November 2 and 5, 2020. Appointed judges in the CAS case between RUSADA and WADA were Mark Williams (Australia), Luigi Fumagalli (Italy) and Hamid Gharavi (France).

According to the CAS decision on December 17, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.

The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan this summer.

The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for the period of two years. WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022.