News 2nd November 2020

CAS to hear RUSADA challenge to WADA Decision this week

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will today begin its hearing into the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) appeal against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decision to declare it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four year period. The closed hearing will conclude on Thursday 5 November.

RUSADA was suspended on 9 December 2019 after WADA found that data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory in January 2019 had been manipulated up until the day before it was retrieved. On 20 September 2018, WADA reinstated RUSADA as compliant with the Code, so long as it provided an ‘authentic’ copy of the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). As WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) team found that the LIMS data had been manipulated, its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) concluded that ‘the Moscow data is neither complete nor fully authentic’.

There is no evidence that RUSADA was in any way involved in the manipulations detected by WADA, and RUSADA has always maintained that it shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others. “Collective punishment is unfair”, argued Mikhail Bukhanov (Михаил Буханов), Acting Director General of RUSADA, in an interview with The Times. “It means that clean athletes will not be able to compete at all. There are no grounds for this. RUSADA follows the [World Anti-Doping] Code. We do our work very carefully and thoroughly.”

Maria Markova (Мария Маркова), who was recently appointed as RUSADA’s Director of Communications, appeared to refer to recent ‘whereabouts’ cases involving Christian Coleman and Salwa Eid Naser. She also appeared to refer to Dr. Richard Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky Doctor who is currently answering allegations of malpractice at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing. 

“We believe that everyone should be treated the same, whether it’s an athlete who has missed several doping tests or a person who has problems with several laptops – everyone should be treated the same regardless of which country the person represents”, she said. “When it comes to a general ban for the entire country, it’s politics”.

WADA announced that is is ‘prepared’ for the hearing. “I remain convinced that the WADA Executive Committee made the right recommendation in this case last December”, said WADA President Witold Bańka. “As at every other stage, we are following due process in relation to RUSADA’s compliance procedure as we continued to deal effectively with this complex matter”.

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