Russia: What is the harsh sanction imposed by WADA?

In an unprecedented decision, Russia was left out of major sports competitions.

Group of people holding flags of Russia.

Group of people holding flags of Russia. / Photo: Rawpixel - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: Rusia: ¿De qué trata la dura sanción impuesta por la AMA?

On December 9, the World Anti-Doping Agency (AMA) revealed that the great power will not be able to compete in the next Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020; nor in the Winter Olympic Games, which will be held in Beijing 2022. The sanction, which will last four years, was for the falsification and manipulation of the sports bases of the Moscow Laboratory.

In addition, and according to EFE, “these manipulations make it impossible to verify whether 145 of the 298 Russian athletes suspected and that they are included in the database violated the anti-doping rules between 2012 and 2015”.

According to the statement published on the official website, “for the Executive Committee it was clear that the Moscow data was neither complete nor completely authentic. As described extensively in the reports, some data were deleted, others were altered and, in some cases, system messages were fabricated in an effort to hamper the work of AMA researchers.”

In addition, the president of the AMA, Sir Craig Reedie, affirmed that “the strong decision of the Executive Committee of today demonstrates the determination of the AMA to act resolutely against the doping crisis in Russia, thanks to the solid research capacity of the Agency, the vision of the CRC and the recently acquired capacity of the AMA to recommend significant sanctions.”

It was also argued that for a long time "Russian doping has detracted from clean sport", and despite presenting opportunities for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), to clarify the cases of doping "[Russia] chose to continue with its position of deception and denial. "

Also, RUSADA will receive an economic fine of 10 percent of its income from January 2019 or $100,000, whichever is less. In addition to the Association "must pay all WADA costs in this file incurred since January 2019".

It's not the first time

It should be remembered that in the edition of the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, several athletes of the Russian athletics delegation had already been removed from the competitions in that discipline because they tested positive for doping control. In addition, in the Paralympic edition, the Russians were finally banned.

For the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang in 2018, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to ban the presence of Russia after doping cases that came to light, after the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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The other competitions that are left out

As mentioned, for four years, Russian athletes will not be able to participate in official competitions given the penalty received. Therefore, the Russians will not only miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games which also affects the Paralympic editions.

In addition, they will be excluded from competitions such as the Youth Olympic Games (both the summer and winter edition), any other championship held by an Organization of Major Events or a World Championship.

The sanction also affects any possibility of hosting or running to host major sporting events, and as the official statement says, “Russia cannot bid for the right to organize the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, regardless of whether the tender is carried out during or after the four year period”.

On the other hand, and for football lovers, the penalty will not affect Russia's participation in the 2020 Euro Cup, since St. Petersburg is not only host to one of the matches, but “UEFA is not defined as an 'organization of important events' in terms of anti-doping related decisions”, said As.

However, for the World Cup in Qatar 2022, in the classification stage "there will be no consequences, the recommendations will not apply", but will apply "in the final phase of the World Cup because it has a 'champion' title" according to El Tiempo.

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Athletes are the most affected

According to the declarations of the AMA, those Russian athletes who want to participate in high-performance competitions will have to verify that they have not been involved in doping cases; that they have not been positive in the database, that they have not manipulated data related to their samples "and that they have undergone adequate tests inside and outside the competition before the event".

Those who pass the aforementioned requirements may not represent Russia within official competitions, but may do so under the condition of neutral athlete. It should be remembered that in the 2018 Olympic Games, 168 Russian athletes proved to be clean and participated under the neutral flag, therefore it would not be strange that in the next Games we see several Russian athletes under that condition.

Will Russia appeal?

RUSADA has the possibility of appealing before the Arbitration Court of Sport (TAS) in a period of 21 days. However, given the seriousness of the matter and the evidence presented, the Anti-Doping Agency is expected not to do so. Even so, and according to the statement, other parties may appeal, such as the Russian Olympic Committee or international federations.

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