Suspend Russia from athletics, Wada commission recommends

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Nov 09, 2015

Russia should be banned from athletics competition, a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report has recommended.

Wada's independent commission examined allegations of doping, cover-ups, and extortion in Russian athletics, which also implicated the IAAF, the sport's world governing body. 

The commission examined allegations of doping, cover-ups, and extortion in Russian athletics, which also implicated the IAAF, the sport's world governing body.

It says London 2012 was "sabotaged" by "widespread inaction" against athletes with suspicious doping profiles.

Russia were also accused of running a "state-supported" doping programme.

 "One of our hopes is they will volunteer to take the remedial work," he said. "If they don't the outcome may be no Russian track and field athletes in Rio. I hope they recognise it is time to change."

The report was released just minutes after the International Olympic Committee Ethics Commission recommended the provisional suspension of Lamine Diack as an Honorary Member of the IOC. 

WADA also wants five athletes and five coaches to get lifetime doping bans. The report also identified "systemic failures" in the IAAF that prevent an "effective" anti-doping programme.

 In response to WADA's Independent Commission report ,the IAAF President, Sebastian Coe, said he is seeking approval from his fellow IAAF Council Members to consider sanctions against the ARAF.  These sanctions could include provisional and full suspension and the removal of future IAAF events.

IAAF council to decide 

"The information in WADA's Independent Commissions Report is alarming. We need time to properly digest and understand the detailed findings included in the report. However, I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF. This step has not been taken lightly.

"Our athletes, partners and fans have my total assurance that where there are failures in our governance or our anti-doping programmes we will fix them. We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport. The IAAF will continue to offer the police authorities our full co-operation into their ongoing investigation.

 WADA and IOC cannot ban, Russia Athletics 

WADA and IOC do not have the right to suspend Russia from World Athletics,the acting head of the country's athletics federation said soon after the report was released.

Vadim Zelichenok said only the IAAF could make a decision about suspending the Russian Athletics Federation.

"It is only a recommendation," he told ITV news.  

In addition, it states the London 2012 Olympics were "sabotaged" by the "widespread inaction" against Russian athletes with suspicious doping profiles by the IAAF and the Russian athletics federation.

Prior to the publication of the report, Lord Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said these were "dark days for the sport".

The report was commissioned on a "very narrow mandate" to "determine the accuracy" of allegations made in a German TV documentary about Russian athletics last December.

It claimed Russian athletes paid 5% of their earnings to domestic doping officials to supply banned substances and cover up tests, while athletics' world governing body the IAAF was implicated in covering up the abuse.

The programme's claims of widespread doping were made by former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife

Yulia (nee Rusanova), formerly an 800m runner who was banned for doping. While former discus thrower Yevgeniya Pecherina said that "most, the majority, 99%" of athletes selected to represent Russia use banned substances.

Pecherina is currently serving a 10-year doping ban that is due to end in 2023. Another banned athlete, Liliya Shobukhova, who won the London Marathon in 2010 said she paid the Russian Athletics Federation Ksh.49 million to cover up a positive doping test.

The documentary also included an undercover video purporting to show 800m runner Mariya Savinova, who won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, admitting to using the banned steroid oxandrolone.

The commission was not asked to examine separate doping claims that also implicated Kenyan athletes made in August when The Sunday Times and a German broadcaster claimed leaked blood tests from 5,000 athletes over 11 years showed an "extraordinary extent of cheating".

Interpol to coordinate probe

International police body Interpol has said it will coordinate a French-led global investigation into doping allegations in athletics.

The IAAF then said the claims were "sensationalist and infuriating". Wada is investigating these claims separately.

The report's co-author, sports lawyer Richard McLaren, believes it shows "a different scale of corruption", even compared with the ongoing Fifa scandal, saying actual results at international athletics competitions had been changed because of cheating.

The report also:

▪        Revealed many instances of inadequate testing and poor compliance around testing standards.

▪        Recommended that Wada withdraw its accreditation of the Moscow laboratory as soon as possible and that its director, Grigory Rodchenko, be permanently removed from his position.

▪        Found that a number of Russian athletes suspected of doping could have been prevented from competing at the London 2012 Olympics had it not been for "the collective and inexplicable laissez-faire policy" adopted by the IAAF and the Russian athletics federation.

▪        Suggested that neither the Russian athletics federation (Araf) the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada), nor the Russian Federation can be considered anti-doping code-compliant.

▪        Confirmed allegations that some Russian doctors and/or laboratory personnel acted as enablers for systematic cheating along with athletics coaches.

▪        Identified the intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by Moscow laboratory officials after receiving written notification from Wada to preserve target samples.