Features 10 July 2017

Russian Federal Government approves National Anti-Doping Plan

The Russian Federal Government has approved the country’s National Anti-Doping Plan (NADP), the country’s Ministry of Sport announced today. The plan contains commitments to:

• Education of athletes and protecting whistleblowers;
• The creation of a database to inform athletes about whether the substances they are taking are prohibited, in Russian;
• Possible legislative changes to force manufacturers to indicate when an ingredient is prohibited in sport;
• Possible reclamation of ‘state and non-state’ money received by athletes and/or coaches found guilty of committing an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV);
• Suspension of state accreditation for sporting federations found guilty of multiple ADRVs.

As The Sports Integrity Initiative initially highlighted, the NADP contained little detail about how these commitments would be implemented in practice. An implementation document published today (PDF below – click if it doesn’t display) outlines who will be responsible for each specific proposal, as well as a timeline for implementation.

The implementation document also contained clarification on doping reforms introduced by Russia. Earlier this month, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that Russia had agreed to allow doping control officers (DCOs) access to ‘closed cities’. The implementation document reveals that special permits will allow DCOs to visit closed cities to test athletes. However, questions remain as to whether a new permit system will allow officials to alert athletes that DCOs are on their way to a closed city.

One of the more controversial measures within the NADP concerned the protection of whistleblowers, given the history of Russia’s failure to accept evidence of systemic doping from whistleblowers and to protect them. The implementation document states that these measures will be developed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) by 1 August this year.

The implementation document also revealed:

• The creation and maintenance of a list of officials that work in anti-doping;
• Proposals to ‘ensure the appropriate level of representation’ for Russians in the science subgroup of the Monitoring Group within the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Anti-Doping Convention;
• The ‘creation of a national anti-doping laboratory in the Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education’ by 1 November (this is the ‘Moscow State University’ laboratory).

As The Sports Integrity Initiative initially highlighted, the NADP sought to codify Russia’s non-acceptance that institutionalised doping had ever taken place in the country. Last month, WADA said that this issue had been directly addressed with Vitaly Smirnov, head of Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC). The IPADC Commission includes two members of the State Duma (Russian Parliament) and a Director of Russia’s Federal Medical & Biological Agency (FMBA), which is working with Russian sport to ‘optimise’ the performance of athletes.

One of the requirements set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for reinstatement of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) was ‘an appropriate official response’ to the Independent Person (IP) Reports compiled for WADA by Richard McLaren, which alleged institutional doping. It appears that an impasse still remains around this area.

Russia has always denied State doping, which is understood within the country to mean doping ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. McLaren’s first IP Report heavily used the term, which angered the Russians, despite the fact that the report directly implicates deputy Minister of Sport, Yuri Nagornykh and its former Minister of Sport, Vitaly Mutko, who is now Deputy Prime Minister.

In August last year, McLaren said that his mandate had been extended to examine a ‘State dictated program’ of doping in Russia. However, at a Foundation Board meeting in March, he clarified that he had “redefined his terminology” to use the term ‘institutionalised doping’ in the second WADA IP Report.

“No, nobody is talking about State participation”, said Russian Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov, in an interview published by the Ministry of Sport. “Even McLaren is no longer talking about State participation. There are no requirements regarding recognition of State participation”.

However, as previously mentioned, the English version of the NADP not only denied that State-sponsored doping took place, but also that institutionalised doping took place. The implementation document doesn’t appear to mention this, however as a denial doesn’t require implementation, this is far from surprising.

As previously mentioned WADA insists that this issue has been addressed. “WADA is focussed on continuing to support RUSADA’s efforts to return to compliance”, added a spokesperson. However, the English version of the NADP has not been amended on the IPADC internet site, although the Russian version only denies that State doping took place. Whether this is enough to meet the IAAF’s requirement for an ‘appropriate official response’ remains to be seen.

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