In an oddly worded release today, WADA’s Executive Committee has announced it will “continue applying the conditions” imposed on Russia in September, on the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee. What this appears to mean is that it’s business as usual, at least for the time being. The CRC specifically recommended against imposing any sanction against Russia at this time for missing the December 31, 2018 deadline for transferring data from the Moscow Laboratory.

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The CRC’s recommendation actually states that, contrary to criticism that it sat on the issue of Russian non-compliance when data from the Moscow Laboratory was not handed over by the December 31, 2018 deadline, the case was actually fast-tracked: 

“In normal cases, ISCCS Article 9 gives a Signatory an initial three months and then if necessary a further three months to correct a non-conformity with a Critical requirement [in this case the critical requirement being handing over the lab data], before the matter is brought before the CRC. This reflects the strong stakeholder sentiment… that formal non-compliance proceedings against a Signatory should be a ‘last resort’, pursued only after the Signatory has been given several opportunities to correct the non-conformity. However, the WADA Compliance Taskforce took the view that, due to the unique circumstances of this case, urgent action is required in order to maintain confidence in the integrity of sport, which justifies departing from the normal procedure… and instead following the fast-track procedure set out in ISCCS Art 9.5. It therefore referred the file to the CRC immediately. The CRC agreed with that approach.”

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The data transfer having been completed, it now falls to WADA to authenticate it, which is expected to take two to three months, with the data team reporting to WADA on its progress every two weeks. If at any point the data is found to have been tampered with, the CRC recommends immediate action be taken, which “very likely” would include banning Russian athletes from the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and prohibiting Russia from hosting any world championships in any sport for a period of time to be determined.

Once the data has been authenticated, it will fall to WADA to determine which athletes doped and which did not. If any samples still being stored in Moscow need to be re-tested, Russia must allow this process to be completed by June 30, 2019.

Moscow

The CRC explicitly recommended that no sanction be imposed on Russia for missing the December 31 deadline, since the data has now been transferred, claiming that in all other similar cases of non-compliance being rectified after the fact, no sanctions were imposed. “The CRC acknowledged the call from some quarters for a different response in this case, but its recommendation is that RUSADA should be treated no differently from other Signatories in this respect. The critical point was to get the Analytical Data, and that has now happened.”

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