Call for hard line on Russia as Wada returns for data

MONTREAL • A three-person World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) team will arrive in Moscow today to obtain laboratory doping test data after the Russian authorities missed a deadline to provide the information.

The mission announced on Monday comes after Wada's athletes committee last week demanded that Russia suffers new sanctions for missing a Dec 31 deadline to provide data from its drug-tainted Moscow lab.

Wada will consider its next step in the long-running saga at a Jan 14-15 meeting of its compliance committee, but the athletes want Russia to be found in non-compliance.

"Anything less will be considered a failure by Wada to act on behalf of clean athletes," a statement from the committee said.

After a recommendation from the meeting, Wada's executive committee will meet by conference call "in the following days" to decide Russia's athletic fate, according to a Wada statement.

Should it be found non-compliant and the Russians want to dispute the ruling, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) would have 21 days to notify Wada and the matter would go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Wada says analysis of data from the Moscow lab is crucial to building strong cases against dope cheats and potentially exonerating other athletes suspected of being part of a systemic state-sponsored doping operation in Russia.

"We are continuing to act on the basis of the Dec 31 deadline having been missed, with all the consequences that failure could bring," Wada president Craig Reedie said.

"This week's mission to Moscow is not only about us following due process and precedent. If the mission is successful in acquiring the data, it will break a long impasse and will potentially lead to many cases being actioned."

In September, Wada conditionally lifted a ban on Rusada, paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports. But one of the conditions was data access by the end of 2018.

A five-person Wada team went to Russia from Dec 17 to 21 but left empty-handed after the authorities raised issues with the certification of Wada equipment under Russian law.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Call for hard line on Russia as Wada returns for data'. Print Edition | Subscribe