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In response to this morning’s decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to avoid banning Russia from the Rio Olympic Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expressed its disappointment.
In a press release posted this afternoon, the agency said, “WADA is disappointed that the IOC did not heed WADA’s Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonized approach,” said Sir Craig Reedie, President, WADA.
Despite today’s decision, WADA said it still “respects the IOC’s autonomy.” The agency also expressed concerns about the challenges this will present for clean athletes.
Read the full press release from WADA here:
Montreal, 24 July 2016 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledges today’s decision by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board asking International Federations to deal with the selection of Russian athletes for Rio 2016; and, stands by its Executive Committee’s recommendations of 18 July. WADA’s Executive Committee recommended that the IOC consider, under its Charter, declining entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee.
On 18 July, WADA’s Independent McLaren Investigation exposed Russian State manipulation of the doping control process. The Investigation’s Report corroborates allegations made by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow, which were released by CBS 60 Minutes and The New York Times on 8 and 12 May respectively.
“WADA is disappointed that the IOC did not heed WADA’s Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonized approach,” said Sir Craig Reedie, President, WADA. “The McLaren Report exposed, beyond a reasonable doubt, a state-run doping program in Russia that seriously undermines the principles of clean sport embodied within the World Anti-Doping Code,” Reedie continued.
“While WADA fully respects the IOC’s autonomy to make decisions under the Olympic Charter, the approach taken and the criteria set forward will inevitably lead to a lack of harmonization, potential challenges and lesser protection for clean athletes,” said Olivier Niggli, Director General, WADA.
As it relates to Yulia Stepanova, “WADA has been very vocal in supporting Yulia’s desire to compete as an independent athlete,” said Niggli. “Ms. Stepanova was instrumental in courageously exposing the single biggest doping scandal of all time,” Niggli continued. “WADA is very concerned by the message that this sends whistleblowers for the future,” he said.
As it relates to the IOC’s repeated call to WADA that the Agency review the anti-doping system, WADA is fully committed to further strengthening the system that belongs to stakeholders worldwide. As a first measure, WADA has already announced that it will be holding the first in a series of multi-stakeholder Think Tanks in September focused, in particular, on: minimising corruption and bribery practices in the anti-doping process; implementing consequences of non-compliance; and, reviewing WADA’s governance structure. This process will concentrate on discussing responsibilities, transparency and the independence of WADA, which is a key matter that must be discussed by Government and Sport. WADA remains committed to protecting the clean athlete, with integrity and within the limits of its investigation powers and financial resources.
WADA can also confirm that, since Professor McLaren published his Report on 18 July, the Agency has facilitated the transfer of evidence from the McLaren Investigation team to the International Paralympic Committee – which acts as an International Federation for several Paralympic sports and has authority over the Paralympic Games – and the International Federations of Olympic sports that are implicated in the Report. Specifically, for follow up as a matter of urgency, the Agency transferred names and relevant details related to athletes under their authority, which escaped sanctions due to the ‘Disappearing Positive’ methodology described in the Report; and, that may be entered to compete at Rio 2016.
On 18 July, Professor McLaren confirmed that:
he had gathered and reviewed as much evidence as was possible within the limited 57-day time frame that he had to deliver his Report;
his Report was ‘partial’;
per his Terms of Reference, there was more evidence to be reviewed ‘to identify athletes that might have benefited from manipulation of the doping control process to conceal positive doping tests; and
that he would be pleased to complete his mandate.
WADA is pleased to confirm that the Agency has extended Professor McLaren’s mandate so that he can finish the work he has started. WADA will ensure to act upon, and provide anti-doping organizations with any further information that may become available as part of the McLaren Investigation’s work.
WADA notes the IOC’s specific reference to an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) letter of 23 July. The Agency can confirm that the issue has been addressed directly with the ISSF and that there was no mistake or discrepancy in the McLaren Report in relation to the samples referenced. The inclusion of shooting samples in the Report reflects the fact that three samples were in the McLaren database, showing that they were part of the state-run mechanism but were not provided with cover up protection.