Russia is BANNED from global sporting events including 2020 Tokyo Olympics over doping

Russia has been banned for four years from global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over doping. 

It means the Russian flag and national anthem will not be allowed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the Beijing Winter Olympics.   

The World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee confirmed the decision at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

The committee reached a unanimous decision to punish Russia after accusing Moscow of falsifying data from an anti-doping laboratory.

The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters in Moscow, Russia. The World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee made the decision at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland

The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters in Moscow, Russia. The World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee made the decision at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland

The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters in Moscow, Russia. The World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee made the decision at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland

Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) has 21 days to appeal against the ban after the sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation.

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus branded the doping ban a ‘tragedy’ for clean Russian athletes. 

Ganus said: ‘There is no chance of winning this case in court. This is a tragedy. Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited.’

If it does appeal, the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

Ganus said the WADA ban was the toughest punishment and added: ‘We have a president and we are waiting for decisive changes from him.’ 

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus (pictured) branded the doping ban a 'tragedy' for clean Russian athletes and said there is 'no chance' of winning the ban appeal

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus (pictured) branded the doping ban a 'tragedy' for clean Russian athletes and said there is 'no chance' of winning the ban appeal

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus (pictured) branded the doping ban a ‘tragedy’ for clean Russian athletes and said there is ‘no chance’ of winning the ban appeal

But athletes untainted by the scandal will be allowed to compete independently under a neutral flag, as was the case during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and last summer’s World Athletics Championships in Doha. 

However, WADA’s inability to fully expel Russia from the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games frustrated the doping watchdog’s vice president.

‘I’m not happy with the decision we made today. But this is as far as we could go,’ said Linda Helleland, a Norwegian MP who serves on WADA’s executive committee. 

The ban means the Russian flag and national anthem will not be allowed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the Beijing Winter Olympics. Closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium

The ban means the Russian flag and national anthem will not be allowed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the Beijing Winter Olympics. Closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium

The ban means the Russian flag and national anthem will not be allowed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the Beijing Winter Olympics. Closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium

‘This is the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen. I would expect now a full admission from the Russians and for them to apologise on all the pain all the athletes and sports fans have experienced.’

For the 2022 Fifa World Cup, WADA said the Russian team will play under its name in the qualifying stages in Europe.

However if it qualifies for the tournament in Qatar, the name will have to be changed to something neutral that would most likely not include the word ‘Russia’.

Some Russian officials, meanwhile, have branded the call for sanctions unfair and likened it to broader Western attempts to hold back the country. 

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov last month attributed the discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues. 

Kolobkov said the ban was politically motivated, adding that Russia had done a lot to clean up sport in coordination with WADA.

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said aid the ban was politically motivated, adding that Russia had done a lot to clean up sport in coordination with WADA. Pictured in Lausanne

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said aid the ban was politically motivated, adding that Russia had done a lot to clean up sport in coordination with WADA. Pictured in Lausanne

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said aid the ban was politically motivated, adding that Russia had done a lot to clean up sport in coordination with WADA. Pictured in Lausanne 

‘I believe it would be right to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,’ he told reporters, saying he believed Russia’s chances in an appeal were ‘quite good’.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that it was ‘impossible to deny’ that doping had taken place but that those involved had already been punished. 

Many in Russian athletes also said the ban was political.

‘I have no words… How can you mock athletes who have been preparing all their lives for this?’ said Aslanbek Khushtov, who won wrestling gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

However, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland 

European football’s governing body does not fall under the definition of a Major Events Organisation under the international compliance code.

WADA concluded that Moscow had tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence and deleting files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats.

The decision was made after considering recommendations from its independent compliance review committee (CRC). 

Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg, Russia

Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg, Russia

Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg, Russia 

The CRC made its recommendations based on evidence presented to it by WADA’s intelligence and investigations (I&I) team.

The I&I team found there were inconsistencies in data handed over to WADA in January 2019 by Russia under the terms of its reinstatement to compliance in September 2018.

The data provided was inconsistent with a copy of the database supplied to WADA by a whistleblower in 2017, in that positive findings present in 2017 were missing from the 2019 data.

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics. Pictured: Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics. Pictured: Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics. Pictured: Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow

The I&I team found that some of the manipulation and deletion had occurred as recently as December 2018 and January 2019 – after reinstatement.  

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Its doping woes have grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics. 

Handing over a clean database to WADA was a key requirement for Russia to help bring closure to a scandal that has tainted the Olympics over the last decade.

Although the IOC has called for the strongest possible sanctions, it wants those sanctions directed at Russian state authorities rather than athletes or Olympic officials.

That position was opposed by most of WADA’s athlete commission who wanted a blanket ban that Russia avoided for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. 

The state-run doping programme was exposed by media and WADA investigations after Russia hosted the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

‘This entire fiasco created by Russia has cheated far too many athletes of their dreams and rightful careers, for far too long,’ the WADA athlete panel said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

The country was stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.

One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA,  which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data. 

RUSSIAN DOPING TIMELINE

The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Russia from the Olympics and other major sporting events for four years, though many athletes will likely be allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

Here is a timeline of the drug use, doping investigations and cover-ups:

February 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin opens the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the first time Russia has hosted the Olympics since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian team surprises many onlookers by finishing at the top of the medals table, with nearly twice as many medals as it won in 2010.

December 2014 German television channel ARD reports on allegations of corruption and systematic doping throughout Russia. Reports include accusations from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, Yulia, an 800-meter runner who had been banned for doping. The Stepanovs go into hiding, saying they fear for their safety.

November 2015 — Citing a report by former president Dick Pound, WADA declares Russia’s anti-doping agency noncompliant and shuts down the national drug-testing laboratory. The governing body of track suspends the Russian track federation in a ban that remains in place today.

Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of engineering Russia's doping scandal in 2017

Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of engineering Russia's doping scandal in 2017

Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of engineering Russia’s doping scandal in 2017

May 2016 — The New York Times publishes explosive testimony by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. He says he switched out dirty samples for clean ones as part of a state doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics and other major events. A follow-up investigation led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren flags hundreds of covered-up doping cases in dozens of sports. The International Olympic Committee starts retesting old samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, eventually banning dozens of athletes from Russia and other countries.

August 2016 — Russia competes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a reduced squad after dozens of athletes fail vetting of their doping-test history by sports federations. The IOC resists calls to ban Russia entirely, but the Paralympics kick Russia out. Russia’s Olympic weightlifting team is barred entirely for bringing its sport into disrepute and the track team consists of only one athlete, Darya Klishina, who gets a waiver to compete because she has been based abroad. The Russian team is fourth in the Olympic medal count.

August 2017 — Nearly two years into its track ban, Russia is allowed to send a team of 19 officially neutral athletes to the world championships in London after they are vetted by the IAAF. When Mariya Lasitskene wins gold in the women’s high jump, the Russian anthem isn’t played. Two Russian silver medalists later have their IAAF status revoked amid investigations into whether they broke anti-doping rules.

In this May 24, 2016, file photo, lab technicians work at Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have finished retrieving data from the Moscow lab that could lead to sanctions against Russian athletes implicated in the country's wide-ranging doping conspiracy

In this May 24, 2016, file photo, lab technicians work at Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have finished retrieving data from the Moscow lab that could lead to sanctions against Russian athletes implicated in the country's wide-ranging doping conspiracy

In this May 24, 2016, file photo, lab technicians work at Russia’s national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have finished retrieving data from the Moscow lab that could lead to sanctions against Russian athletes implicated in the country’s wide-ranging doping conspiracy 

December 2017 — Faced with evidence of mass Russian cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC officially bans Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. However, it allows 168 Russians to compete as ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia.’ They win gold in women’s figure skating and men’s hockey. Two Russians fail doping tests during the games.

June-July 2018 — Russia hosts the soccer World Cup. Before the tournament, FIFA looks into alleged doping in Russian soccer but doesn’t issue any sanctions.

September 2018 — WADA reinstates the Russian anti-doping agency against opposition from many Western athletes, who feel Russia hasn’t publicly accepted it cheated. WADA’s condition is for Russia to turn over stored data and samples from the Moscow laboratory that could implicate more athletes. Russia misses the initial December deadline but finally hands over the files in January 2019.

October 2018 — U.S. prosecutors allege Russian military intelligence officers hacked sports organizations, including at the 2018 Olympics, as it tried to paint athletes from other countries as cheats.

June 2019 — Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is ordered to stand trial in France over accusations of corruption, including an alleged scheme to cover up failed doping tests in return for payments from athletes. Evidence has emerged suggesting that as much as $3.5 million may have been squeezed out of Russian athletes to hush up their doping.

September 2019 — WADA says it has found signs that the lab data handed over by Russia eight months earlier may have been tampered with. Its investigation finds signs of last-minute editing days before the handover, with positive tests covered up and an attempt to plant fake messages blaming Rodchenkov.

November 2019 — The president of the Russian track federation is charged with filing false medical documents in an anti-doping case. After four years on suspension, his federation now risks full expulsion from World Athletics.

December 2019 — Using the neutral status from the 2018 Winter Olympics as a template, WADA bans Russian teams from major events for four years, though that doesn’t cover part-hosting soccer’s 2020 European Championship. Russia can appeal the ruling.  

(Source: Associated Press)  

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