The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reached a unanimous decision to impose a four-year ban on competing in all major international sporting events to Russia over doping non-compliance.
This quite unprecedented and historic decision means only one thing: Russian athletes won’t be able to compete in collective sports disciplines, among other events, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. On the other hand, the opportunity to prove they weren’t part of a system that supported the use of illegal substances was given to individual athletes. In case they provide solid proofs in regard to this, they will be allowed to participate in international competitions but only under the neutral flag.
Now, Russia has 21 days to appeal to WADA’s decision and if it isn’t satisfied with the ruling, it can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, which is the city where WADA ruled on the suspension.
In addition, Russian Government officials and representatives may not sit as members of the boards or committees or any other bodies, and Russia may not host or bid to host any major event.
This punishment will also apply to Russia men’s national team (2012 London Olympic Games winners and 2017 CEV EuroVolley winners) and Russia women’s national team (European champions in 2015, and seven-time world champions), while Russia has lost the organization of the 2022 FIVB Men’s World Championship.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from the clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join 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,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said.
Russia recently, in an effort to prevent its athletes from being banned from competing for state-sponsored doping, sent some documents on the subject to the WADA, but was then accused by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of delivering neither complete nor completely accurate data in these papers.
A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under the neutral flag at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, because of receiving sanctions for the first time, similar to current ones, after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic.