Russia has been banned from competing in international sporting events for four-years for a doping cover-up, meaning the country will not feature at next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, or the football World Cup in Qatar, also in 2022, reports The Guardian.
An emergency meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday unanimously voted to exclude Russia. The ban was imposed by WADA’s executive committee after Russia was found to have tampered with data they handed to WADA as a condition for ending a previous three-year ban for state-sponsored doping. Russia has 21-days to contest the ban.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial. As a result, the Wada ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts,” the chief executive of WADA, Sir Craig Reedie, said.
Russian athletes are still allowed to enter and compete at international events under a ‘neutral banner’ providing they give evidence that they are clean.
Widespread Russian doping was first proved by WADA in 2015 when they claimed that at least 643 positive tests had been hidden by authorities. That resulted in the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) and 111 athletes being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Then, last year WADA decided to reinstate the Russian anti-doping agency on the condition that it shared its laboratory results. They did, and those results were also found to have been tampered with, leading to this latest ban.
Short of a blanket ban, the ban imposed yesterday is the harshest punishment WADA could have given, although some sporting purists claim it is still not strong enough.