Challenge to Wada's solidarity on Russia

MONTREAL • Russia's anti-doping agency (Rusada) remains suspended and will continue to be non-compliant until it has met all the criteria for reinstatement, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said on Thursday as cracks in its solidarity began to show.

Wada director general Olivier Niggli told the Foundation Board there would be no end to the dispute that has dragged on for nearly three years until Rusada had fulfilled the guidelines laid out in the Road Map to Compliance.

"We follow our process," Niggli told Reuters. "How long is it going to last?

"The Russians have the means to solve the problem if they want to. The ball is in their court. What matters to me is that we follow the process, we've outlined the Road Map and we follow that."

Some Foundation Board members, however, feel the Road Map has hit a dead end and it is time to conclude the matter.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Patrick Baumann, who also sits on the Wada executive committee, asked the Foundation Board how much longer it was willing to let the dispute drag on.

The meetings also included an attack on the Compliance Review Committee (CRC), an independent body that makes recommendations to the executive committee.

"We don't challenge the Road Map, we question how long we want to follow it," Baumann said.

"What, for the next 10, 20, 30 years? What are we asking? Are we asking the head of state to come here and personally apologise?"

The IOC reinstated Russia on Feb 28 after the remaining tests from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games all returned negative results but Wada continues to stand firm.

The Foundation Board meeting appeared to expose a split that seems to be building between Wada hardliners and board members who also have ties to the IOC like Baumann and Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

Senior IOC member Dick Pound, who helped set up Wada and was its first president, continues to be among the loudest voices demanding full compliance before Russia is welcomed back.

Russia has met many of the demands but two items remain outstanding: access to the Moscow laboratory and acknowledging the findings of the Wada-commissioned report that found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2018, with the headline 'Challenge to Wada's solidarity on Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe