Yuri Ganus, Russian Anti-Doping Agency Leader, Fired; WADA is ‘Extremely Concerned’

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Yuri Ganus, the chief executive of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) was fired on Friday. The World Anti-Doping Agency is “extremely concerned” about the dismissal of the outspoken leader.

According to The Associated Press, Ganus was fired after alleged “financial irregularities” came to light and his agency’s board recommended that the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee consider his dismissal.

Ganus has been outspoken about Russia’s history of anti-doping reforms, criticizing several of the nation’s top sports authorities. During his tenure, the agency known as RUSADA has assisted some high-profile investigations into Russian athletes and sports officials.

“In my view, this is a wrong decision, so let them enjoy their mistakes,” Ganus told the Interfax news agency. “The wanted to make (this decision) and they made it. In terms of the overall goals and all, it’s a mistake.”

With RUSADA facing sanctions and scheduled to appear in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland to challenge WADA’s sanctions in a couple of months, WADA said the process of the dismissal of Ganus is also cause for concern.

“These developments reinforce the concerns expressed by WADA in its statement of  5 August in relation to the manner in which the Founders reached the decision regarding Mr. Ganus following a recommendation by RUSADA’s Supervisory Board; and, re-emphasize the critical importance for RUSADA to maintain its operational independence going forward. WADA is in contact with RUSADA and other relevant Russian authorities to get further clarifications on the latest developments; and, will update the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) accordingly,” the statement read.

“With RUSADA’s non-compliance case pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, WADA will continue to monitor RUSADA’s developments closely. It is a critical element of the World Anti-Doping Code that National Anti-Doping Organizations, such as RUSADA, remain safe from interference in their operational decisions and activities in order to conduct their work independently and effectively. This is why the CRC, when it issued its recommendation to declare RUSADA non-compliant with the Code that was unanimously endorsed by the Agency’s Executive Committee on 9 December 2019, made it a condition of RUSADA’s reinstatement that WADA remains satisfied that RUSADA’s independence is being respected and there is no improper outside interference with its operations. The current situation will be monitored in light of this condition.”

Russian Olympic president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said at a news conference the decision was made “unanimously.”

The court case will begin Nov. 2 in Switzerland, now without Yuri Ganus as head of RUSADA.

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