The World Anti-Doping Agency has been given the green light to lift
its ban on Russia's drug-tainted testing authority after a
recommendation from investigators, the global doping watchdog said on
A WADA statement said its independent Compliance Review
Committee (CRC) had recommended that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency
(RUSADA) be reinstated when the agency's executive committee meets in
the Seychelles on September 20.
The move, which paves the way for
Russian athletes to make a full return to competition, came as a
surprise. A day earlier, Britain's BBC published a letter from WADA's
compliance committee recommending that the ban remain in place.
suspended the RUSADA in 2015 after declaring it to be non-compliant
following revelations of a vast, Moscow-backed scheme to avoid drug
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 or FSB.
Russian officials had previously concluded that
their doping system failed, but refused to acknowledge claims of
Tensions within WADA emerged earlier
this year over whether Russia had done enough for the sanction to be
lifted, with some officials arguing it had not completed a "roadmap" to
However WADA's statement on Friday said its
compliance committee had recommended reinstating RUSADA after reviewing a
letter from the Russian Ministry of Sport.
sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia, therefore
fulfilling the first of the two outstanding criteria of RUSADA's Roadmap
to Compliance," WADA said.
It said Russia had also agreed to provide access to data and samples in its Moscow laboratory to WADA via an independent expert.
the apparent WADA U-turn was slammed by the United States Anti-Doping
Agency chief Travis Tygart, who called on the agency to make public
evidence Russia had satisfied the criteria for reinstatement.
it stinks to high heaven, WADA should stop the sleight of hand and
release the new Compliance Review Committee recommendation as well as
any information received from Russia now showing they are compliant,"
Tygart said in a statement.
"Today, WADA has unequivocally told
the world the type of organization it is: one that supports the desires
of a handful of sports administrators over the rights of millions of
Tygart also challenged RUSADA to provide details from tests carried out at its Moscow laboratory.
RUSADA are compliant then great, we now have all the data and samples
at the Moscow laboratory and finally justice can be served in the
hundreds of cases that have been derailed up to now," Tygart said. "If
not, the fix has obviously been in since the start."
If RUSADA's reinstatement is approved as expected next week, it could have far-reaching implications across the sports world.
significantly, it removes a key obstacle to lifting the suspension of
Russia by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF),
track and field's global governing body.
The IAAF has taken a
hardline stance on Russian athletes since the scandal emerged, refusing
to lift its ban shortly before the European Championships.
IAAF has said Russia must fulfil three criteria to be readmitted; the
reinstatement of RUSADA, provide access to doping records at the
agency's Moscow laboratory from 2011-2015, and payment of costs incurred
by the IAAF in the wake of the scandal.
The IAAF will review Russia's status once more at its council meeting in Monaco in December.
Thursday, a group of British athletes had called on WADA to resist
pressure to lift the ban, asserting that Russia was not in compliance.
UK Anti-Doping Athlete Commission said in a letter to WADA chief Craig
Reedie that Russian readmission would be a "a catastrophe for clean
Clear divisions within WADA came into the open at its
board meeting in Montreal in May, where members from individual sporting
bodies called for the ban to be lifted.
Patrick Baumann, a
prominent member of the International Olympic Committee, questioned
whether Russia should be suspended indefinitely.
challenge the road map, we simply question for how long we want to
follow that road map - for the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years?" he
told the meeting.
Officials in Russia meanwhile have sent mixed signals over the country's doping scandal.
President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged doping cases but has
dismissed Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower whose revelations
exposed the scandal as "an idiot" who should not be trusted.
Rodchenkov is currently living in hiding in the United States, and has said he fears for his life.