The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) has successfully retrieved the data from the former Moscow anti-doping laboratory in Russia. This pushes forward WADA’s attempts to validate that the Russian Anti-Doping Association (RUSADA) is in compliance with the new, more lenient standards set forth for reinstatement.
When WADA experts first traveled to Russia in an attempt to retrieve the data ahead of the December 31st deadline, they were blocked access, citing “an issue raised by the Russian authorities in relation to the certification of the equipment under Russian law.” Those issues were later resolved, after the RUSADA head pleaded to Russian president Vladimir Putin to help break the stalemate, and WADA was granted access to the data last week.
Why WADA says the data is important:
“The data are crucial to build strong cases against cheats and exonerate other athletes suspected of having participated in widespread doping on the basis of previous WADA-commissioned investigations led by Richard W. Pound and Professor Richard H. McLaren. The data has been retrieved from the laboratory’s various servers, instruments, computers and other electronic equipment. This information has now been transported out of Russia for authentication and detailed analysis by the Agency.”
WADA says that the Compliance Review Committee met in Montreal from January 14th-15th, received a full report on the WADA Executive Committee’s decision last September to reinstate RUSADA, in spite of RUSADA having not met the original standards for reinstatement.
WADA president Craig Reedie credited that decision for WADA being able to access the lab.
“This is a major breakthrough for clean sport,” Reedie said. “It shows we are continuing to make real progress that simply would not have happened without the 20 September ExCo decision. The first phase of the three-phase process outlined by that decision is now complete. The long impasse around access to the former Moscow Laboratory has been broken and that is significantly good news.
“WADA now embarks on the second phase, which entails the authentication and review of the data to ensure it is complete and that it has not been compromised. Given the amount of data, that will take some time to achieve but our experts have the tools they need to be able to verify the data with a high degree of confidence.
“Once the data have been authenticated, we will be in a position to proceed to the third phase and support the various sports and other anti-doping organizations concerned to build strong cases against athletes who doped and, as part of that, ensure that certain samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory are re-analyzed in an accredited laboratory no later than 30 June 2019.”
WADA’s latest statement implies that no further sanctions would be applied as a result of the missed deadline, saying that RUSADA was offered “due process” and “the opportunity to make a submission to the CRC to explain the non-conformity.”