Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has decided that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has not met the conditions required for it to be declared complaint with the World Anti-Doping Code, reports InsideTheGames. Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), appealed to the WADA Executive Committee to reconsider, accusing Jonathan Taylor of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) of ‘disregarding our position’.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to comment on the news. Its Executive Board is due to make a decision on whether it will sanction Russia at a meeting in Lausanne on 5-7 December. As previously reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, Russia’s political position means that it has been unable to meet the requirements set out in WADA’s Roadmap to Compliance.
Zhukov argued that Russian acceptance of the Independent Person Reports produced by Richard McLaren should not be a condition for the reinstatement of its anti-doping agency. ‘We agree with the fact that the anti-doping system in Russia has seen a significant failure’, he said in a statement. ‘This failure was the result of organised activities for manipulating the doping samples of athletes from Russia by a group of individuals, whose purpose was to extract personal gain. The organisers were the leaders of RUSADA, the Moscow anti-doping Laboratory and others. The degree of involvement and guilt of specific individuals will be determined at the end of the investigation, which is being held at the moment by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR). At the same time, we categorically deny the existence of a State system of support for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.’
In the Independent Reports produced for WADA, Richard McLaren implicates Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko as being responsible for covering up the positive test of a Russian footballer. Mutko was Russia’s Minister of Sport during the period investigated by McLaren, and is now Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
‘With regard to other provisions of the Report of Professor McLaren, the events of recent months have shown that this document is inconsistent, often legally unconfirmed, and requiring checks on a case by case basis’, continues Zhukov. ‘This is particularly true of the thesis that 1,000 Russian athletes utilised doping methods. This conclusion has been refuted by the results of investigations carried out by different international sports federations.
‘No criticism is allowed to stand of the idea that the Russian athletes were victorious thanks to the systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs. The results and performances of our teams and individual athletes for summer and winter sports during the last two years, during which time they have been under constant and very strict controls on the part of foreign anti-doping agencies, completely refute this assertion.’
Zhukov points out that at the recent IOC Summit on 28 October, it was recognised that the findings of the forensic analysis of the McLaren Report could not be used to establish individual legal action, because the methodology that Professor McLaren used was not designed to establish individual anti-doping rule violations. ‘From the above it should be obvious that the unconditional recognition of McLaren’s Report is impossible’, his statement continues. ‘Such a requirement cannot and should not be an obstacle to the full restoration of RUSADA. Otherwise it will result in inability to resume the work of the national anti-doping system in Russia, including the activities of the anti-doping Laboratoriy, and in the banning of Russian Paralympic athletes from the Paralympic Games. It’s not the result we seek, having worked together for two years. At the same time I would like to emphasise once again that the requirement to Russia unconditionally recognise all the aspects of McLaren’s report has nothing to do with the daily, operational activities fully reformed National Anti-Doping Agency, which has also been under the complete control of WADA for the last two years.’
It is understood that the main obstacles to Russia’s reinstatement are the requirement for public recognition of McLaren’s findings; access to the urine tests held at the Moscow Laboratory and its anti-doping database – a copy of which WADA has recently claimed to have obtained from whistleblowers. The samples and database are currently held by the SKR, which issued charges against the whistleblowers who provided the database to WADA last week, in an apparent contravention of Russia’s National Anti-Doping Plan (NADP).
It is also understood that access to closed cities remains a problem and was referred to by Taylor in his speech to the Foundation Board. It is true that Russia has granted Doping Control Officers (DCOs) access to closed cities, but only those that are already citizens of the Russian Federation, as the Russian government’s implementation plan for its NADP confirms.
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