The World Anti-Doping Agency is putting its foot down on Russia.
The agency’s 12-member executive committee voted unanimously to ban Russia from international sports competition for four years, which includes the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as punishment for tampering with drug-testing data.
The punishment also bars any government official from attending any major events at the Olympics, and has stripped Russia from its right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.
Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency, RUSADA, has three weeks to approve or appeal the decision.
Russian teams and athletes can still compete in the Olympic Games if they can prove they are clean and have no link to that data tampering case, but must do so under a neutral flag — the same policy that was implemented at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang due to previous sanctions. Those athletes competed as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
The 2018 sanctions stemmed from a 2015 WADA-commissioned report that found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletes and state-sponsored cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
RUSADA was also suspended in 2015 in the wake of the report, but reinstated last year. Among the conditions for reinstatement was for Moscow to provide authentic copy of lab data.
WADA investigators, however, concluded that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linking to positive doping tests.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement. “The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’S reinstatement conditions, approved by the (executive committee) in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.”