News 5th September 2016

FINA Doping experts resign alleging their advice was ignored

Three key officials from the Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) have resigned, alleging that their advice on Russian participation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was ignored. ‘On 26 July, FINA publicly announced that the DCRB would “conduct a review and issue a recommendation in respect to whether Russian athletes were subject to a reliable anti-doping scrutiny” prior to determining the eligibility of such competitors for participation in aquatic events at the Olympic Games’, read a 1 September letter from Andrew Pipe (Chairman), Larry Bowers and Susan White of the eight-person DCRB. ‘The members of the DCRB deliberated carefully and on 27 July, delivered a unanimous recommendation that provided the criteria for a competent review of the adequacy of the anti-doping scrutiny to which Russian competitors had been subjected. Despite the anti-doping expertise of the individuals that make up the DCRB, FINA chose to ignore our advice’.

FINA expressed ‘surprise’ at the resignations. ‘FINA would like to clarify that the Olympic Games are an IOC event’, read a statement. ‘For Rio 2016, the decision on the participation of the Russian athletes has been made by the CAS and the IOC. FINA fully respected and implemented their decisions. In this very complex process, FINA did express the DCRB position but our International Federation was not the body ultimately deciding the outcome on this matter.’

FINA instantly declared that seven Russian swimmers were ineligible to compete at Rio 2016, however all seven swimmers named in its 25 July statement ended up competing in Rio. ‘We learned of the decisions regarding the eligibility of Russian competitors only by observing the Olympic competition’, continued the letter. ‘We were disappointed to note that our recommendations were not followed – and even more disappointed to receive no specific response to a subsequent written request for information regarding the reasons for FINA’s decision’.

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