30th December 2019

Ganus: RUSADA appeal highlights lack of independence

The Director General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has said that the requirement for him to inform the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about a RUSADA Supervisory Board decision to appeal WADA’s sanction, without him having input into that decision, highlights a lack of independence. Yet independence from outside influence is one of the conditions that RUSADA must maintain over the four years of its suspension before it can be reinstated as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA’s CRC requires RUSADA to remain independent throughout the four years of its suspension…

‘Adhering to a critical position on the decisions of the Supervisory Board and the General Meeting of RUSADA Members, due to the likely risks, while not being able to influence them, I consider it necessary to declare the critical importance of use in international cooperation, and even more in investigations, principles of integration, transparency and trust, on the ground of which the work of the new RUSADA is based’, reads Yuriy Ganus’s notification letter to WADA (PDF below). ‘I regret to inform you that all my attempts, including attempts to make changes to RUSADA Notification, have failed’.

In the above PDF, Ganus questions whether the requirement for him to inform WADA about RUSADA’s appeal, without being able to influence that decision, constitutes the external interference into the activities of RUSADA which WADA’s CRC prohibits. ‘RUSADA cannot, by definition, be independent from its founders’, reads an answer from Alexander Filatov, a RUSADA Ethics Officer. ‘The General Meeting of the founders is the highest governing body of the organisation […] Giving information about the decisions of the founders’ meeting is not an operating statutory activity of the agency, and this instruction by the founders of the organisation to the Director General cannot be deemed, in my opinion, as external interference (breach of independence) into the activities of RUSADA.’

RUSADA was suspended on 9 December after WADA found that data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory in January 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’.

Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov…

The samples stored at the Moscow Laboratory and the LIMS database were sealed off in June 2016, when the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR or Sledcom) launched a criminal investigation into Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Director of the Moscow Laboratory. WADA was keen to access the samples and the data in order to confirm which athletes have cases to answer, after Dr. Rodchenkov alleged that the doping control system in Russia had been subverted from 2012 until 2015. 

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