On Thursday, September 20th, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will hold a meeting of its Executive Committee to determine whether or not to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) following RUSADA’s plea for reinstatement and WADA’s own Compliance Review Committee’s (CRC) recommendation to alter two outstanding requirements set by WADA that have thus far hindered its reinstatement.
RUSADA, which claims it should be reinstated based on its “technical capability to perform its duties in benefit of all clean athletes of Russia and the world,” is likely to be reinstated given that WADA’s very own Compliance Review Committee (CRC) suggested the amendments to the former outstanding criteria hindering RUSADA’s reinstatement.
Though the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was reinstated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the conclusion of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang, South Korea, RUSADA has remained in limbo as Russian sporting and government officials have repeatedly refused to accept two criteria vital to its restoration.
First, pursuant to criteria which have now been amended slightly, RUSADA was meant to publicly accept the findings of the McLaren Report, which former ROC President Alexander Zhukov refused to do. Second, RUSADA was ordered to allow WADA officials access to the Moscow Anti-Doping lab, its samples, and data, which the organization also refused.
Instead of accepting the findings of the McLaren Report and admitting the existence of a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russian sports, RUSADA will accept the validity of the IOC Disciplinary Commission’s report, also known as the Schmid Commission’s report, as it was led by Samuel Schmid of the IOC Ethics Committee. The Schmid Commission’s finding differ from that of the McLaren Report in that it did not find “any documented, independent and impartial evidence confirming the support or the knowledge of this system by the highest State authority.”
This “evolution of wording,” as it was called in the Schmid Commission’s report, was one of Zhukov’s biggest grievances with the McLaren Report, which alleged that the Russian doping scheme came via orders from the highest levels of Russian government. The Schmid Commission amended the findings of McLaren to read “An institutional conspiracy existed across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure, such as RUSADA, CSP and the Moscow Laboratory, along with the FSB for the purposes of manipulating doping controls.”
Furthermore, instead of allowing multiple WADA officials access to the Moscow Laboratory, one “independent expert” will be granted access to the Moscow lab, its samples, and data, per a WADA press release from September 14th, 2018. WADA followed its September 14th press release with another on September 15th, in which it intended to quell what it described as “speculation and misinformation” circulating about the RUSADA Roadmap to Compliance.
Now, nearly three years after RUSADA was first suspended, WADA has apparently accepted less than it originally asked for from the Russian Agency that helped make it possible for Russian athletes to cheat drug tests in Olympic and world championship competitions. Not only will RUSADA likely gain reinstatement without accepting the findings of the McLaren Report, but it will also allow merely one “expert” access to the Moscow lab. These compromises, once formally accepted by WADA’s Executive Committee, could also pave the way for Russian reinstatement with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), arenas where Russian athletes have been forced to compete under the neutral Olympic flag, unable to officially represent their home nation.