MONTREAL: The World Anti-Doping Agency gave a positive welcome to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in a significant sign of a thawing in relations between the two bodies.

A statement from WADA, reacting to the IOC statement, said:

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) supports the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision today to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect; and, to invite individual Russian athletes to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 under specific conditions determined by a panel.

Evaluation of the eligibility of Russian athletes, will be carried out at the absolute discretion of the panel to be chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, Chair of the Independent Testing Authority, and include members of the Pre-Games Testing Task Force: one appointed by WADA, one by the Doping Free Sport Unit and one by the IOC, Dr. Richard Budgett.

The IOC’s decision was based on the findings of the IOC’s Schmid Commission, which was formed in July 2016 to investigate Russia’s institutional manipulation of the doping control process as exposed by Professor Richard McLaren via WADA’s independent McLaren Investigation Part I; and, the Oswald Disciplinary Commission, which was formed at the same time to investigate the Russian athletes that were identified by McLaren Investigation Part II.

The Commissions also considered valuable new intelligence contained within an Interim Report by WADA’s independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department. The Report confirms the I&I Department’s satisfaction that an electronic file, which it acquired at the end of October, is an authentic copy of the Moscow Laboratory’s Information Management System (LIMS) database, containing accurate testing data from January 2012 – August 2015. WADA is satisfied to see that the work and the findings of its Pound and McLaren Investigations have been confirmed.

“WADA believes that the IOC has taken an informed decision to sanction Russia for its involvement in institutionalized manipulation of the doping control process before, during and after the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games,” said Sir Craig Reedie, President, WADA.

“The Agency also welcomes the decision to establish a panel that will determine criteria for the inclusion of Russian athletes under a neutral flag,” Reedie continued. “It must be proven that these athletes have not been implicated in the institutionalized scheme and have been tested as overseen by the panel,” continued Reedie. “We are eager to collaborate with other stakeholders in this regard.”

“We believe that this decision goes a long way towards protecting the interests of clean athletes,” said Linda Hofstad Helleland, Vice President, WADA. “It is also in line with expectations expressed by the Government members of WADA’s Foundation Board during the Agency’s November meeting,” she continued.

“WADA is satisfied that the IOC’s decision today outlines an appropriate path forward for PyeongChang 2018,” said Olivier Niggli, Director General, WADA. “The Agency is also confident that, going forward, it will be better equipped to deal with such circumstances of non-compliance due to its new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories,” he said.

“The Standard — which specifies a range of graded, predictable and proportionate sanctions for cases of non-compliance with the Code – addresses the appeal by athletes worldwide that Code Signatories be held to as high a benchmark as they are under the Code.”

On 15 and 16 November 2017 respectively, the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) was adopted by WADA’s Executive Committee; while, certain World Anti-Doping Code (Code) amendments that the ISCCS necessitates were approved by the Agency’s Foundation Board.

The ISCCS and the Code amendments, which will be published shortly and take effect on 1 April 2018, formalize the ways in which WADA supports Code Signatories in achieving, maintaining and regaining Code compliance. 

As it relates to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), on 16 November 2017, WADA’s Board maintained its non-compliance status under the Code until such time as Russia fulfills its obligations under the Roadmap to Code Compliance.  

WADA’s Board declared RUSADA non-compliant in November 2015, following revelations of widespread doping in Russian athletics that were exposed via WADA’s independent Pound Commission.

Since then, WADA and its partners have been working very hard to rebuild a credible, and sustainable, anti-doping program in Russia that will ensure the protection of clean athletes inside and outside of the country. 

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