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WADA chief says ‘the ball is in Russia’s court’ to reinstate RUSADA

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie in an exclusive interview with TASS
WADA President Craig Reedie

On November 16, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided against reinstating the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA).


— WADA’s decision on Russia’s 2018 Olympics participation?

Having watched what happened today you will quite clearly understand that this organization does not have the right to decide who enters and takes part in sports competitions. It was quite clear that the feeling on this meeting on the public authorities, who said that major event organizers expect reasonable consequences, it’s all been mentioned. The Olympic movement will concentrate on pre-game testing... the issues in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and they will have to nominate the day when they take this decision.

— McLaren’s allegation on Russia’s state supported doping system?

If you look at the claims made in the McLaren report, it was quite clear that there was a conspiracy, which involved a number of people in Russia, involved people from RUSADA, who clearly did not do the job properly at all. They did exactly what they were told, which was not to do it properly. It involved people from the Laboratory, it seemed to involve people from the FSB and clearly McLaren said it involved people from the ministry. That is what we have been saying. We ask that the Russian authorities acknowledge the McLaren report that appears to be difficult for them. So what do I do? Just happily remove it? When in fact it’s been nailed as part of the Roadmap that we have agreed on for about a year and a half. It is pressure time and I know that. But we are caught between the situation, when the IOC (is) taking a decision on taking part in the Games and what are own rules say. As I said to your colleague a minute ago, the atmosphere here was calm and reasoned, the information that we have, have been passed to IOC Commissions. The IOC will be given full information to make up their mind.

— How the work of RUSADA…?

It still works and works well.

— Why it is non-compliant?

It was declared non-compliant in November 2015, when it clearly was non-compliant. As part of that exercise one of the reasons that it was declared non-compliant was the accusation of a cheating system. That’s why it’s there. They have to deal with it in some way. I can understand the irritation expressed by some of my good friends, but it is there. The rest of the world believes that the ball is in their court.  They believe that somebody else should take that ball and remove conditions and do something to help. The ball is in their court.

— Is this issue seems to be politicized?

From an anti-doping view it’s not politicized at all. It was part of a decision we took on a report that came to us, when, if you call it politicized, is because political influences were in force in the wrongdoing. So I am afraid you can’t take that away. You can’t say I am politically involved now I want you to remove it and fail to acknowledge that there was political influence two years ago.

— Why is Jonathan Taylor so powerful holding posts in several sports organizations and giving advice to the WADA?

I understand the question. John is a professional lawyer. He has a client called the IAAF, he has a client called the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Finally, as we are concerned, he is virtually a volunteer as chairman of our Independent Compliance Review Committee.

— He is not paid by the WADA?

I mean buttons. He hardly charges us anything at all I wish all of our lawyers charged like him.

— Just because…

He knows a great deal about the anti-doping world and if you are running a Compliance Review Committee you better turn to somebody who actually understands the system, than somebody who doesn’t know it all. That having been said, there are two independent members of the Compliance Review Committee. One comes from the air transport authority and the other one comes from the pharmaceutical industry. There is an athlete, there is an international federation represented and there is a government represented. Not just John Taylor I promise you.

— Russian Investigative Committee’s conclusions?

You heard from John this morning, they claimed that they interviewed seven hundred people. They haven’t indicated, who the seven hundred people are. There is just a statement, there is no evidence behind it. We have an invitation from the Investigative commission (committee вероятно имеется ввиду) in Moscow to join them and to do a joint investigation.   The answer from our point of view is – sure, we will be very happy to do that. And the only condition we would suggest is that we have the meeting inside the Moscow laboratory. Besides the other conditions that are at the roadmap. And that could be achieved pretty quickly.

— There are many inaccuracies in the McLaren report. Dozens of athletes mentioned in the dossier were found not guilty. This is reason enough to cast doubt on Rodchenkov's ‘proof’. Wouldn’t you agree?

There are two entirely separate parts. If you look at the terms of reference from McLaren, McLaren was asked to deal with the allegations that appeared in the New York Times, which talked about the state-sponsored conspiracy. That’s what we are supposed to do. He was also asked if he had any further information, he could make it available.  The second part is that only when he was satisfied with that information, was to give us effectively copies of the whole mass of the emails, which is in his evidence website, which, I am sure you have looked at. One email with one athlete’s name is not normally sufficient in law to have an anti-doping rule violation. As far as we’re concerned, all we have done is we are not proceeding with some of these cases, which are the responsibility of the International federations.  We haven’t said that people are guilty, people are not guilty, that’s not our rule, we’re just not proceeding with the cases at the moment at the request of the international federation, because there isn’t enough evidence. Now, going forward, if the database, that we now have provides all that evidence, then it might well be, that we do half cleared evidence, allocated by name to individual athletes. I don’t know.

— Rodchenkov was part of the system. Why is the government involved?

A: If you look at the McLaren report, he’ll tell you it has got any number of emails, involving government. That’s realty, this is what happened, it’s not a popular situation in Russia, I understand it. I’ve already met Rotchenkov once, when he showed me around his new laboratory. There has been an admission in Russia, that some people took the cocktail of drugs that he produced. He was a very able scientist.

— Why believing him and not the Russian government?

The evidence that we have had from McLaren is now almost certainly corroborated by database. And the Russian officials have said so far – no, it didn’t happen. And they haven’t acknowledged the fact that McLaren even existed.

— Russian officials concealed the truth? Do you doubt Mr. Putin’s statement?

I wouldn’t question president Putin and statements like that at all. You have a different definition of state sponsorship that exists in many other parts of the world. For example, the former president of the Russian athletics federation has apologized for everything that went wrong. There are mixed messages coming from (Russia). And I can understand, what president Putin said. Part of the evidence we have so far is that there was an involvement and a conspiracy.

— WADA’s responsibility over licenses for anti-doping labs at 2014 Sochi Olympics?

First of all, we accredit the Moscow laboratory and the Sochi laboratory is a satellite laboratory from Moscow. The staff of the laboratory in Sochi was almost entirely Russian people. There were five or six lab directors invited by the IOC to oversee the doping process and they were in and out of the laboratory. And to that extent the whole thing seemed to work fine. We had our own science officials monitoring that and if you look at the McLaren report, everything happened between one o’clock and four o’clock in the morning. That’s the accusation that cheating took place overnight when these people weren’t there. Ok. Nobody has denied that yet. That’s what people say happened and hasn’t been denied.

And it might be by any of the responses that we’ve had. People are turning around and saying it’s your fault, not our fault at all.

We have some of the top lab experts in the world. All of whom knew under many ways and miles the scientific skills of Rodchenkov.

— RPC missing out of 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang?

I know that compliance of RUSADA is part of the task force arrangements in both Paralympics and track and field and athletics. What do you think I was doing the last six months? I was trying to get RUSADA compliance. But I’m coming up against a difficulty when nobody will actually concede to the existence of the McLaren report and accept that and they will not let me into the laboratory. I’m sorry. I try, and I try, and I try. As they say in football, the ball is in your court.