WADA slammed after decision to reinstate RUSADA

Accra, Sept. 21, (DPA/GNA) – The World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) remained under fire Friday for controversially
declaring Russia’s anti-doping body RUSADA compliant again after three years of
suspension over wide-ranging doping practices in the country.

The media widely condemned Thursday’s decision
after athletes and the anti-doping community had also criticized WADA over the
vote by its executive committee at a meeting in the Seychelles.

Britain’s The Guardian said WADA was
“facing the gravest crisis in its 19-year history” while Germany’s
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung spoke of “a declaration of bankruptcy by
WADA.”

Another German broadsheet, the Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (SZ), titled “betrayal under palm trees, added in an editorial
that “WADA has abolished itself as a serious authority” and bluntly
called on national anti-doping bodies to break away from WADA.

The New York Times said RUSADA was reinstated
“despite an outcry from athletes and watchdogs that Moscow has not done
enough to clean up its record of corruption in competitions.”

WADA president Craig Reedie insisted that the
reinstatement was subject to strict criteria. WADA had earlier said that
flexibility was needed on the issue but that did not appease the critics.

But the institution was slammed over two major
issues.

Some, including the SZ, highlighted the
structure of WADA which is financed by the Olympic Movement and public
authorities and has also members from both sides in its executive committee –
with Reedie an International Olympic Committee member and Vice-president Linda
Helleland Norway’s Minister for Children and Equality.

“The clear vote shows how close the
sports brethren moves together when the Kremlin and the IOC join forces,”
the SZ said, naming the decision “a deceptive package by IOC
manufacturing.”

IOC president Thomas Bach has long been
criticized over his stance, allowing Russians to compete at the Rio 2016
Olympics even though RUSADA was already suspended, and also not imposing a
blanket ban for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games where Russians were allowed
to compete as neutrals.

The SZ also recalled that WADA only started
investigating after media reports of wide-ranging and institutional doping
practices in Russia, which were then confirmed in two reports by its
investigator Richard McLaren.

The IOC only said it has “taken
notice” of Thursday’s decision.

Helleland said in the run-up she would vote
against reinstatement, and afterwards spoke of “a dark shadow over the
credibility of the anti-doping movement.”

WADA is also under fire for softening its own
roadmap for RUSADA reinstatement in two areas: Russian acknowledgement of the
McLaren report and access to the database of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

The BBC first revealed that WADA told Russia
it would be satisfied if Russia acknowledges an IOC report from the so-called
Schmid commission which was softer on government involvement than McLaren.

Access to the Moscow lab data must now be
given by the end of the year if Russia doesn’t want to risk being declared
non-compliant again.

Former Moscow lab chief Grigory Rodchenkov, a
key witness for McLaren, said through his lawyer that Thursday’s decision
“represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic
history.”

US anti-doping chief Travis Tygart slammed the
decision as “a devastating blow to the world’s clean athletes.”

WADA’s decision opens the door for Russia to
stage international events again, and the New York Times said that the city of
Kazan was named a bidder for the 2023 European Games.

Attention will now also be on the athletics
body IAAF, which suspended Russia in 2015 and had said Russia’s federation
RusAF could be reinstated by the end of the year if WADA lifted RUSADA’s
suspension.

However, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in
response to the vote that his body will analyse the WADA ruling but insisted
the IAAF has its own criteria for reinstatement.

“The setting of our own criteria … has
served the sport of athletics well over the last three years so we will
continue to rely on the taskforce and our clear roadmap for RusAF reinstatement
until we are satisfied that the conditions have been met,” Coe said.

GNA

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