Following the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to reduce Russia’s international sports ban from four years down to two, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has responded. And though the agency considers the sanctions “unjustified,” they are also ready to move forward.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) imposed the ban in December 2019, declaring RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), and thus suspending RUSADA (and therefore Russia on an international sporting level) for a four-year period. After RUSADA’s appeal, the CAS Panel reduced the ban from four years to two last month.
Now, in a documented recently released by RUSADA, the agency outlines several of the issues it has with the CAS Award, specifically referring to a “Legal Note” issued by WADA. RUSADA says this note “fails to provide a balanced summary of the Panel’s findings,” and that in actuality it’s more of a “one-sided and largely redundant summary” of the Parties’ disagreements. Therefore, RUSADA deemed it necessary to provide context and clarify the issues raised in the note.
“As RUSADA has already stated publicly, it strongly disagrees with the findings in the CAS Award regarding the alleged data manipulations, which – in RUSADA’s view – are based on a flawed and one-sided assessment of the facts and were not sufficiently proven,” the document says.
RUSADA adds that the Panel did not take into account certain submissions of evidence that it had submitted.
The agency goes on to claim it was deemed non-compliant with the WADC “exclusively due to the fact that WADA had not allegedly been able to receive an authentic copy of the data of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory to which RUSADA never had access.”
“Essentially, RUSADA is punished for violating an obligation that in principle it could not fulfill,” the document says.
“This decision not only contravenes basic principles of fairness, but is also unwarranted in light of the significant progress made by RUSADA during the reinstatement process, which has been expressly acknowledged by WADA. Therefore, and for the reasons set out further below, RUSADA considers the sanctions imposed by the CAS Panel to be unjustified.”
Despite feeling as though the sanctions were unwarranted, RUSADA goes on to say it fully supports the Panel’s rejection of several requests made by WADA, and that it has made the decision not to challenge the CAS Award despite disagreeing with several of the central findings and statements in the award’s reasoning.
In conclusion, RUSADA says it “considers that this chapter has now been closed,” and looks forward to working with WADA with hopes of fully restoring its membership status.
“RUSADA trusts that this process will be constructive and based on a transparent and realistic road map in line with RUSADA’s obligations under the WADC,” the document says. “RUSADA remains fully committed to the fight against doping but will continue to defend the rights of clean Russian athletes and to oppose any form of discrimination against Russian sport.
“It is RUSADA’s hope that WADA will in time view the dispute and the CAS proceedings as an opportunity to learn and as a chance to create an international compliance system together with its Signatories, not against them.”