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WADA to Reinstate Russia After Doping Ban

Richard McLarenRichard McLaren

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 Friday.

A WADA statement said its independent Compliance Review Committee had recommended that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be reinstated when the agency’s executive committee meets in the Seychelles on September 20, AFP reported.

The move, which paves the way for Russian athletes to make a full return to competition, came as a surprise. A day earlier, BBC published a letter from WADA’s compliance committee recommending that the ban remain in place.

WADA suspended the RUSADA in 2015 after declaring it to be non-compliant following revelations of a vast, Moscow-backed scheme to avoid drug testers.

A WADA report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused Russian authorities of running an elaborate doping program 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 institutional involvement. 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 rehabilitation. However WADA’s statement on Friday said its compliance committee had recommended reinstating RUSADA after reviewing a letter from the Russian Ministry of Sport.

“This letter 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.

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