London - The World Anti-Doping Agency's decision to lift a
ban on Russia's anti-doping agency is a triumph for money over clean sport,
WADA's former director general said on Friday.
David Howman strongly criticised WADA president Craig Reedie
for caving in to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and
international federations eager to stage events in Russia again.
The decision was taken on Thursday at a meeting of WADA's
executive committee in Victoria, capital of the Indian Ocean island of
"I am a little disappointed, to say the least,"
said Howman, who ran WADA from 2003 to 2016 and is now chairman of the
Athletics Integrity Unit.
"This looks like they have taken the decision to
deviate from a carefully put-together roadmap for entirely pragmatic
reasons," he told Britain's Press Association.
"So WADA has gone from being an organisation that cared
about clean athletes to one that cares about international federations that
have not been able to stage events in Russia - it's money over principle."
WADA suspended RUSADA in November 2015 after declaring it to
be non-compliant following revelations of a vast Russian-backed scheme to avoid
A WADA report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused
Russian authorities of running an elaborate doping programme with the full
support of the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian secret service (FSB).
WADA announced last week it had received an internal
recommendation to lift the suspension of RUSADA.
The softening of WADA's stance has triggered outrage from
athletes and national anti-doping agencies around the world, who have accused
WADA of succumbing to pressure from the IOC.
Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe said the move
undermines the faith clean athletes have in WADA.
"This goes against everything WADA is supposed to stand
for," she told the BBC. "It undermines their credibility and the
faith clean athletes have in them."
Howman has little sympathy for the idea that Reedie, a
former chairperson of the British Olympic Association, had little option but to
go along with the IOC's wishes.
"I don't care if you are under pressure, that goes with
the job," the New Zealander said.
"That's what you have to endure when you take
principled stands. You are always going to upset one set of interests or
another. WADA's main responsibility is to stand up for clean sport.
"The risk for WADA is that it has gone from being an
independent regulator to just a service organisation for sports federations.
That is not what it was supposed to be."