Four-year ban rocks Russia over doping cover up


MOSCOW: Russia´s anti-doping chief said Tuesday he expected the country to be barred from all sporting competition for four years, after a bombshell recommendation from the World Anti-Doping Agency that shocked Russia.

WADA´s Compliance Review Committee recommended the ban on Monday, accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory data handed over to investigators.

It recommended Russia also face a four-year ban from staging or bidding for major international sporting events.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement it supported the “toughest sanctions” against Russia for “flagrant” manipulation of the doping data.

The recommendation is set to go before WADA´s Executive Committee at a meeting in Paris on December 9.

Asked if he expected the recommendation to be upheld, the chief of Russia´s anti-doping agency RUSADA, Yury Ganus, told AFP: “That´s the reality.”

“We are plunging, for the next four years, into a new phase of Russia´s doping crisis,” Ganus said, pointing out that the ban would affect Russian athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“The most difficult and tragic thing is that our athletes have become hostages of the actions of our sports officials,” he said.

The proposed sanctions are the latest chapter in a saga that began in 2015 when an independent WADA commission investigating allegations of Russian doping during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi said it had found evidence of a vast state-sponsored system stretching back years.

Russian track and field athletes were barred from competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016 although Russians were allowed to take part in other events.