The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has given Russia three weeks to investigate and explain inconsistencies in data from the Moscow anti-doping lab while WADA works on a ‘fast-track’ compliance procedure against Russia.
WADA announced the news Monday. It’s the next step in last week’s reports that Russia was suspected of manipulating the lab data. WADA‘s release doesn’t mention tampering, only reporting that independent experts in digital forensics had discovered “inconsistencies” in the data.
Background on the data in question
The data from the Moscow anti-doping lab was central to RUSADA (Russia’s anti-doping agency)’s brush with WADA last year. WADA reinstated RUSADA in early 2018, despite the Russian agency not meeting the original standards of reinstatement. Part of the new policy for reinstatement was that RUSADA turn over important data from the Moscow Anti-Doping lab. Experts said the data was crucial to help build cases against athletes caught doping, and to exonerate athletes falsely suspected of being aided by what the McLaren Report deemed Russia’s institutionalized doping program.
Russia missed the first deadline to turn over the data, causing RUSADA’s head to publicly appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing concern that Russian athletes would be suspended from international competition if the data was not turned over. WADA was eventually able to retrieve the data, and Russia met its next deadline for turning over samples more than a month in advance.
More From WADA
In WADA‘s full press release – which you can read here – the anti-doping agency reports that “good progress” has been made in analyzing the data from the Moscow lab, and that 47 cases have already been identified and passed along to sport-specific federations.
However, with the reliability of the raw data from the Moscow lab being a central point of Russia‘s reinstatement to WADA compliance last year, the new questions about the data have WADA working on a compliance procedure against Russia “on a fast-track basis” according to the release. When Russia responds with comments and answers to a list of questions about the data, WADA can decide whether to move forward with taking Russia back out of compliance.
WADA says there is no set timeline on the process, but says it is “pursuing the matter robustly and as quickly as practicable.”