World Anti-Doping Agency accused of being ‘played’ by Russia

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been accused of being “played by the Russians” after the country’s anti-doping agency missed the December 31st deadline to hand over data from its Moscow laboratory.

Sir Craig Reedie, WADA president, said he was “bitterly disappointed” that one of the conditions set when it lifted the three-year suspension on the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) in September had not been met.

WADA’s compliance review committee will meet on January 14 in Canada to consider its options, which could see the country once again banned from international events.

Travis Tygart, United States anti-doping agency (USADA) chief executive, said the situation was a “total joke” and an “embarrassment for WADA and the global anti-doping system.”

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‘No one is surprised’

In a statement, Tygart said: “In September WADA secretly moved the goalposts and reinstated Russia against the wishes of athletes, governments and the public. In doing this WADA guaranteed Russia would turn over the evidence of its state-supported doping scheme.

“No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it’s time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians and immediately declare them non-compliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline.”

However, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has suggested Russia would not be suspended for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, saying the country had “served its sanction” when banned from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang last year.

WADA’s decision in September allowed Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports despite the country not having complied with all demands following the revelations in 2015 of a state-sponsored doping program.

The suspension was lifted pending Russia meeting “strict conditions” that included a timeline for “access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples.”

In November Reedie had said it was “very hard to believe” Russian authorities “won’t deliver,” but last month WADA was unable to extract all of the promised data with the Russian authorities reportedly saying that the team’s equipment required to be certified under Russian law.

The UK anti-doping athlete commission said RUSADA must be declared non-compliant and suspended.

It said: “The Russian state needs to prove unequivocally that they have learned from the biggest doping scandal under WADA’s watch, and that they will from this date forward be committed to a drug-free, transparent regime across international sport.

“Otherwise the WADA compliance review committee and the WADA executive committee must immediately declare Rusada non-compliant.

“WADA’s leadership has the opportunity to stand up for the interests of athletes, their families, their fans and their sport. We trust that those we look to for leadership will demonstrate their resolve and commitment to clean sport.

“In the name of sport, it is time to do what is right.”

RUSADA has yet to make an official statement.