Athletes Call On RUSADA To Match WADA Request For Public Arbitration Hearing

Book cover Brigitte Berendonk - Von Der Forschung Zum Betrug dopingberendonkbookGDR

2020s Vision: The Athlete Voice

Athlete representative groups from around the world have published an open letter calling on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Board to match the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) request for an open and public hearing at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) into the latest twist in the Russian doping crisis.

The letter signed by AthletesCAN, Athleten Deutschland, The British Athletes Commission, the Danish Olympic Committee Athlete Commission, Global Athlete, the Norwegian Olympic Committee Athlete Commission and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Advisory Council, reads as follows:

Over the past several years athletes have lost trust in the sport and global anti-doping movement as a result of the lack of transparency in dealing with the Russian anti-doping crisis. Medals have been lost, athletes have been let down and confidence is at an all time low.

Athletes want to have trust in the system. Athletes want a level playing field. Athletes also want more transparency to avoid any notion of backroom deals being made.

An open and transparent CAS hearing will go a long way in helping athletes understand any decision that is rendered by CAS and may lead to increased confidence in the anti-doping system.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are months away. The CAS hearing and a rendered decision must occur before the start of the 2020 Games. Athletes have rights and those rights should include transparent and timely proceedings as these outcomes will directly affect every athlete.

The athletes’ request comes after three days of waiting for RUSADA to turn positive noises on backing WADA’s request into an official request of its own to the CAS. A source close to the court has told Swimming World that an official request has yet to be received. Margarita Pakhnotskaya, RUSADA deputy director general, responded to WADA’s move on Monday by saying the organisation was generally in agreement but only if “there are no infringements on the rights of witnesses in the case.”

A Crisis Growing Old

The Russian doping crisis is more than a decade old. Swimming is among sports affected, Russia the nation in the pool with the highest number of doping cases in the sport for the 10 years leading to a home World Championships in Kazan that unfolded in July 2015.

That was eight months after the German TV station ARD revealed the seismic and systematic nature of the doping of Russian athletes, two decades and more after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the GDR’s systematic doping program, the details of which were first revealed in the book “Doping” by Brigitte Berendonk, working with her husband Prof. Werner Franke.

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The fight for clean sport

WADA Requests Public Hearing

On Monday this week, WADA submitted a formal request to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that the hearing to resolve the dispute related to the non-compliance case against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be held in public.

Such open hearings are growing in popularity, the Sun Yang case having been heard, by agreement with the parties involved, the swimmer and WADA included, in public last November.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said:

“WADA’s investigations on Russia, and this latest case of non-compliance, have generated huge interest around the world. It is WADA’s view – and that of many of our stakeholders – that this dispute at CAS should be held in a public forum to ensure that everybody understands the process and hears the arguments.”

In a statement, WADA provided the following background:

When RUSADA was reinstated as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) in September 2018, there were conditions attached. One of these was that the Russian authorities had to grant WADA Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) access to the authentic Laboratory Information Management System data and underlying raw analytical data contained within the Moscow Laboratory.

In January 2019, WADA I&I retrieved 24 terabytes of data from the Laboratory and then embarked on a painstaking forensic examination to determine whether they were authentic and complete. During this process, both WADA I&I and independent forensic investigators confirmed manipulation and deletion of some of the data had been carried out after RUSADA’s reinstatement.

In September 2019, WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee opened a non-compliance case against RUSADA and, following an in-depth review, recommended to WADA’s ExCo that under the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories that came into force on 1 April 2018, RUSADA be declared non-compliant for a period of four years and that various consequences be imposed. These consequences included that Russia would not be allowed to participate in, host or bid for various covered events, including the Olympics, Paralympics and Code Signatories’ World Championships, for the same four-year period. On 9 December 2019, the ExCo unanimously agreed to uphold the CRC recommendation.

Within the 21-day deadline, RUSADA indicated it was disputing the decision and so, on 9 January 2020, WADA filed a formal request for arbitration with CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, to resolve the dispute. The matter is now in the hands of CAS. In accordance with Article 23.5.9 of the Code, any CAS decision in relation to the non-compliance, the proposed consequences and/or the proposed reinstatement conditions will be binding and must be recognized and enforced by all Code Signatories.

A detailed ‘Chronology of the Russian Doping Crisis’ and a set of frequently asked questions are attached as complementary information relating to the Russian doping crisis.

 

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