WADA Athlete Commission Condemn’s RUSADA Reinstatement Decision

Photo Courtesy: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee reinstated the suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in a controversial decision last week.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie warned that RUSADA could be declared non-compliant again if they do not follow a “clear timeline” on access to the samples and data at the Moscow Laboratory, according to Inside the Games.

The executive committee decided to reinstate RUSADA under strict conditions.

  1. Russia must ensure the data of the former Moscow Laboratory is handed over to WADA by no later than December 31, 2018.
  2. WADA has also demanded that they be given the chance to re-analyze “any samples as required by WADA” no later than June 30, 2019.

In addition to these strict requirements, RUSADA must undergo a successful inspection carried out within four months to ensure RUSADA continues to meet compliance standards.

WADA outlined a “road map to compliance” in 2015 and RUSADA was required to satisfy all the criteria. The executive committee deliberated at length as to whether Russian authorities had satisfied the last two remaining requirements, specifically that:

  1. That the responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia must publicly accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation; and
  2. That the Russian Government must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored samples and electronic data in the former Moscow Laboratory, which are sealed off due to a Federal investigation.

The Compliance Review Committee claimed a letter from Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, which stated the country “fully accepted the decision of the IOC Executive Board that was made based on the findings of the Schmid Report,” satisfied the first requirement.

The Schmid Report largely supports the McLaren Report as it outlines the involvement of Russian Ministry officials in the state-sponsored doping scheme but its language is not as strong as the document from the Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren, according to InsideTheGames.

The CRC also judged that a “commitment” from Russia to provide data and access to the samples stored at the Moscow Laboratory via an independent expert met the second criteria.

This has led to a backlash from a number of people, including swimming superstars Michael PhelpsKatie LedeckyAdam Peaty and Lilly King.

The WADA Athletes Commission, which includes former British Olympian Caitlin McClatchey issued a statement condemning the WADA decision.

It reads in full:

“As clean athletes we are devastated with WADA’s decision to reinstate RUSADA without the completion of the road map. RUSADA is back, yet there has been no public acceptance of wrongdoing, and the samples still sit locked away in the Moscow lab. We had expected that WADA would stand up for clean athletes and clean sport, instead we have seen nuance and pragmatism overtake justice and accountability.

The road map that clean athletes and WADA had been relying on ended up with WADA coaching Russia on how to ask for concessions, changing the terms, and the world’s athletes being cut out. An impasse should not result in the authority that set the rules folding to the one that broke them. Having seen the conditions change once, we have little assurance in them not changing again.

Russia has used its athletes, committed the biggest doping scandal of the century, corrupted the anti-doping and sport movements, and has now been welcomed back on a promise, without even complying with the rules. This is not good enough.

Athletes from around the world have spoken up, and yet again they have been shut out and not listened to. We have no vote at the decision making table that sets the rules for us. Worse, our views are dismissed while we are told that the entire anti-doping system is athlete-centric and there to protect clean athletes. We are the ones who train, compete and dream of winning medals, who demand fairness, and we are the ones that lose out when the rules are broken, and when sanctions are not followed.

Ultimately this decision by WADA shows that the views of clean athletes are not valued. Despite this, we will continue to fight for what we know is right, for clean sport and clean athletes.”