The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from major international sports events for the next four years over a longstanding doping scandal. The sanctions are because of the extensive fabrications WADA investigators found in Russia’s athletics programs. The Russian Olympic Committee has called the sanctions “illogical and inappropriate.”
The ruling means that Russia’s flag, name, and anthem will not appear at next summer’s Tokyo Games or the 2022 World Cup and Winter Olympics in Beijing. Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin and other leaders, are barred from attending any of major sports events Russia is barred from. In addition to the four-year ban, Russia must also pay a fine of up to $100,000, the maximum amount allowed under WADA’s rules.
An investigation by WADA found Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency to be noncompliant with its rules. Russian state authorities have been accused of tampering with a Moscow laboratory database and critical data about Russia’s athletics programs was found to be “neither complete nor fully authentic.” Hundreds of potential doping cases were deleted and evidence falsely planted. Handing over a clean database was a key requirement given to Russia 15 months ago.
Russian athletes could still compete, but they would have to fulfill a number of requirements, including showing they aren’t implicated in cheating to having no drug-positive findings in their records. WADA says it now has a list of all Russian athletes who are suspected of doping. The agency says it responded “in the strongest possible terms,” short of a blanket ban on all Russian athletes.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency now has 21 days to accept or dispute the sanction. It has signaled it would dispute the findings. If it appeals, the case would move to arbitration by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.