Photo Credit: Courtesy President of Russia
The captain of the Russian Olympic ice hockey team presents Vladimir Putin with a team sweater, January 2018.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) on Monday banned Russia for the next four years from all international sporting events, including the two most prestigious: the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said at the organization’s meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. “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.”

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“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,” Reedie said.

The 12-member ExCo supported the CRC’s recommendation, which includes a series of strong consequences and conditions of reinstatement in accordance with the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS).

Sir Craig Reedie also stated: “The ExCo’s strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018. Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.”

The ruling means the Russia’s flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and soccer’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

According to TASS, Russia will challenge the WADA ruling with the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the matter is discussed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Svetlana Zhurova, first deputy chairperson of the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, said on Monday.

“A meeting of RUSADA’s Supervisory Board will be held on December 19. It will decide whether RUSADA accepts these recommendations or not. And the court in Lausanne after that,” she said. “I am 100% sure [Russia will go to court] because we must defend our athletes.”

Also, defend the folks who dope our athletes…

The deputy director general of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Margarita Pakhnotskaya, said the WADA decision was “well-expected.”

I’m not surprised it was unanimous,” Pakhnotskaya told TASS. “The picture that I saw at a recent WADA session was approximately the same. As far as I understand, Executive Committee members said not a word in Russia’s support.”

Pakhnotskaya noted: “I believe that the Executive Committee’s decision will prompt our sports officials to make some conclusions.”

Less detectable performance enhancement drugs?

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