3 Jan 2019

Wada vice-president wants 'rapid' action after Russia deadline missed

12:20 pm on 3 January 2019

By Dan Roan, BBC Sports Editor

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) should act "rapidly" after Russia's anti-doping agency (Rusada) missed a deadline to hand over data from its Moscow laboratory, says vice-president Linda Helleland.

sport doping

sport doping Photo: supplied

Rusada was set a 31 December deadline to comply, but Wada's inspection team were denied full access to samples.

The country could now be at risk of another ban from international events.

Helleland said she was "extremely disappointed but not surprised" Russia did not comply.

The Norwegian politician added that a Wada panel should convene "immediately" to decide whether Russia should be suspended again.

Wada said it will refer the issue to its compliance review committee (CRC), an independent body that will next meet on 14 January in Canada, after which it will make a recommendation to Wada's executive committee (ExCo).

Wada's athlete committee said it was "extremely disappointed" the deadline was missed and that it expected Russia to be declared non-compliant following the process recommended by the CRC.

"Only this action will be suitable and appropriate in the view of the athletes - anything less will be considered a failure by Wada to act on behalf of clean athletes," it said.

Helleland opposed Wada's reinstatement of Russia in September following a state-sponsored doping scandal but was out-voted on the body's executive committee.

"I am extremely disappointed that Russia did not deliver within the more than three-month time frame they had at their disposal to extract the data," she said.

"Having said that, I am not surprised, this process has unfortunately been going on for years."

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said he was "bitterly disappointed" after it was confirmed Rusada had missed the deadline and that "the process agreed by Wada's ExCo in September will now be initiated".

Helleland added: "We at Wada must act very rapidly on the actual situation and a decision by the Wada CRC and ExCo should not be delayed - I've strongly suggested that the CRC convene via a teleconference immediately.

"As soon as we receive a recommendation from the CRC, a teleconference should be organised with the ExCo so that we can discuss and decide on the situation without any further delay."

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) said it was "deeply concerned" by the development, with a statement saying: "Uninhibited access to the Moscow laboratory and the athlete 'LIMS' data, was the first condition of Wada's reinstatement of Rusada in September 2018. At the same time the process to be followed once the 31 December deadline passed was set out.

"The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) must now complete its work, and Ukad keenly awaits its recommendation to Wada's executive committee."

United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) chief Travis Tygart said the episode was "a total joke and an embarrassment for Wada".

He urged Wada to "stop being played by the Russians" and said Rusada should be declared non-compliant.

The US is one of 16 national anti-doping bodies (Nado) who have called on Wada to suspend Russia.

"Russia must be held accountable for its continuing failure to comply," Nado leaders said in a statement.

"After more than three years of review, indecision and compromise in response to the worst doping scandal in the history of sport, the time has come to demonstrate that no individual nor nation is exempt from compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code."

The UK Anti-Doping Athlete Commission also demanded Russia's immediate suspension by Wada.

But International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach seemed to suggest Russia was not in danger of being suspended for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

He said: "With its suspension from the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee has served its sanction, while in other organisations procedures are still ongoing."

Wada president Reedie said: "I am bitterly disappointed that data extraction from the former Moscow laboratory has not been completed by the date agreed.

"Since then, Wada has been working diligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport."

In September, Wada controversially lifted its suspension of Rusada - which was imposed in November 2015 - pending the meeting of conditions in a "roadmap to compliance".

One of the conditions was to allow independent access to the raw data held at the Moscow lab, and in November Reedie had said it was "very hard to believe" Russian authorities "won't deliver".

But Wada said on 21 December it had been unable to "complete its mission".

The state-sponsored use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russians in Olympic and Paralympic sports emerged in independent reports in November 2015, and July and December 2016.

New Zealand reaction

Drug Free Sport New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Paterson said: "Once more we are dismayed but not surprised that Russia has missed another deadline.

"Despite WADA jumping through each hoop the Russians put forward, and making a team available to go to the Russian lab, it has been clear that Russia had no intention of delivering on the requirements of the WADA deal of September 2018.

"Sadly there is no other option available to WADA but make RUSADA non-compliant once more. The time for negotiation and compromise is long past.

"We hold Kiwi athletes strictly accountable and expect them to comply with the rules. We should do the same for countries. Clean sport and clean athletes deserve our support. It is time to stand strong, and all those involved in the fight against doping to stand together."

-BBC/RNZ