WADA backs IAAF maintaining Russia ban

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) – The World Anti-Doping Agency gave its backing on Wednesday to the IAAF decision to keep Russia suspended and out of the Rio Olympics.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council last Friday decided to maintain the suspension of Russia after findings of drug test violations, including ignored positives and altered test results.

"Further to yesterday's Olympic Summit and the declaration that resulted, WADA strongly believes that the IAAF decision must be upheld as it was articulated on 17 June by the IAAF Task Force," WADA president Craig Reedie said.

Reedie said tough measures such as banning Russian competitors from international events, notably the upcoming Rio Olympics but potentially more global events if the ban should linger, were vital to showing the world's clean athletes that dope cheats will not be tolerated even from one of the largest nations in global sport.

"It is essential that tough measures be enforced to ensure that those involved understand the gravity of not embracing clean sport," Reedie said. "Until the required cultural changes in Russia is well advanced through strong education and prevention programs; supported by independent doping control and robust compliance programs; WADA cannot assure clean athletes of the world that it is reforming."

Reedie backed the IAAF proposal to have Russian athletes apply for reinstatement on a case-by-case basis based upon testing from credible programs from outside Russia - a move which could open a path for doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete in Rio.

WADA awaits the results of its independent McLaren Investigation, which began last month and examines further allegations of doping in Russia.

Preliminary findings by the McLaren panel indicated a "state-directed" manipulation of test results conducted within the Moscow-accredited laboratory from at least 2011 forward including the period of the IAAF World Championships in 2013."

"If involvement of the state is clearly established, then sports authorities must collectively respond, in an uncompromised fashion, and ensure that the necessary consequences are put in place to protect clean sport," Reedie said.

The full McLaren report is due to be delivered to Reedie by July 15 and made public within five days after that.

The Russian athletes ban began last November on findings from WADA's independent commission into doping in Russian athletics.

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