For months, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has maintained the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for its refusal to comply with two final outstanding measures which would lead to its reinstatement with WADA, and subsequently the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). This week, WADA director general Olivier Niggli confirmed there had been no change in the status of RUSADA and that the organization still needs to meet the criteria set before it.
To regain WADA’s approval for reinstatement, RUSADA must acknowledge the findings in the first and second McLaren Reports which revealed a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russian sports which seemed to have reached its zenith during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and it must open its Moscow laboratory to WADA officials.
When RUSADA was first ruled non-compliant in November 2015, it was the Foundation Board that took the first step towards castigating RUSADA. Now, however, pursuant to new rules that came into effect on April 1, 2018, it will be WADA’s Executive Committee that will ultimately decide if an organization is non-compliant, and its decision will then be relayed to the Foundation Board.
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov has repeatedly stated that Russia will not recognize the conclusions of the McLaren Report, citing a contradiction, or rather, an “evolution of wording” which should apparently render the largest conclusions of the McLaren Reports false–that Russian sports benefitted from a state-sponsored doping scheme. RUSADA director general Yury Ganus, on the other hand, has urged Russia’s Investigative Committee to open the Moscow lab to WADA inspectors.
Following the Closing Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang, South Korea, Russia’s hopes for reinstatement with WADA briefly soared as amity rekindled on the Korean Peninsula and tensions decreased between North Korea and the West. At this time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took advantage of the diplomatic atmosphere and hastily reinstated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which had been forced to compete neutrally at the 2018 Winter Games.
The sudden reinstatement of the ROC came somewhat to the dismay of WADA President Sir Craig Reedie, who said he would have “preferred a slightly longer period [of suspension], because that might have given me and the World Anti-Doping Agency a little more time to try to get the Russian Anti-Doping Agency to be fully compliant.”
Though nearly three months have passed since the IOC’s pardoning of the ROC, WADA and RUSADA remain at a standstill as both sides hold steadfast in their convictions of what constitutes the appropriate punishment for Russia’s sporting delegations.