18th March 2019

Private company tipped off Russian powerlifters about drug tests

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has discovered that a private company tipped off Russian powerlifters about when they would be tested in return for cash. The company involved, ‘Anti-Doping Initiative’ (Антидопинговая инициатива), concluded an agreement with the Russian Powerlifting Federation (FPR) to carry out all doping tests in Russian competitions from 1 February 2017. Financial results for the Moscow-based company reveal it has been in operation since at least 2013.

It is understood that RUSADA is also investigating whether other national sporting federations had contracted the company to conduct testing, and whether their athletes had received tip-offs regarding testing. In addition, RUSADA is understood to be investigating whether the FPR ordered unofficial pre-competition tests to be performed by the company.

RUSADA said that it had previously employed the DCOs involved, who had been dismissed due to similar allegations mentioned in the Independent Person (IP) Reports produced by Richard McLaren for WADA. In his second Report, McLaren states that the earlier Independent Commission (IC) led by Dick Pound had highlighted ‘the involvement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in corrupting Doping Control Officers (DCOs) who would warn athletes in advance of out of competition testing’. The fist IC Report found that ‘advance notice of testing was provided when Russian DCOs were scheduled to visit their training camps, or when the athletes were required to travel to Moscow for the purpose of providing test samples’.

‘During the investigation, RUSADA identified a number of grave violations of the Intentional Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), such as advance notice given to athlete and the collecting of money from athletes prior to doping control’, read a RUSADA statement. ‘It should be noted that cooperation by sporting federations with companies that are not signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code […] risks the loss of federal compliance with the Code’.

One of the main principles of the ISTI is that there should be no advance notice of testing. The ISTI specifies that the organisation responsible for collecting samples may contract a third party to conduct testing, provided that it remains compliant with the ISTI and the World Anti-Doping Code. 

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