Sport Ireland among 16 National Anti-Doping Organisations urging WADA 'to take strong action' against Russia

Sport Ireland among 16 National Anti-Doping Organisations urging WADA 'to take strong action' against Russia

16 National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), including Sport Ireland, have called on the World Anti-Doping Organisation (WADA) to take a firm stance against Russia after it missed the deadline to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

In September, WADA lifted its suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), which was imposed in November 2015, pending the meeting of conditions in a "roadmap to compliance". The controversial move upset athletes and athlete groups.

One of the conditions of the suspension of RUSADA being lifted was to allow independent access to the raw data held at the Moscow lab, but on December 21 WADA admitted it had been unable to "complete its mission".

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “As has been the case from the outset of this ordeal, there has been a continual shift of the goalposts in relation to the reinstatement of Russia’s compliance.

Sport Ireland among 16 National Anti-Doping Organisations urging WADA 'to take strong action' against Russia

"That there has been yet another roadblock put in place by Russia is not a surprise and now it is time for WADA to take strong action, convene a meeting of the Compliance Review Committee without delay and declare them non-compliant until such time as all conditions have been met in full.

"Anything less than this will have a devastating impact on the anti-doping system.

"Clean athletes globally need to know they are competing on a fair and level playing field.”

United States Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart yesterday urged WADA to "stop being played by the Russians", describing the episode as "a total joke and an embarrassment for WADA and the global anti-doping system".

A statement from WADA issued on January 1, 2019, read: "The December 31, 2018, deadline - by which time the Russian authorities had to provide access to the data - has elapsed without the data having been retrieved.

"The deadline was one of two conditions stipulated in WADA's 20 September Executive Committee (ExCo) decision regarding the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA's) compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code."

WADA will now refer the matter to the independent compliance review committee, which has its next meeting on January 14.

Mr Treacy said: “Comments made yesterday by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, which are extremely unhelpful, demonstrate why the IOC are out of touch with athletes. The comments also underline why the IOC should not be involved in the decision making when it comes to matters of anti-doping.

"It is now up to WADA to act decisively and quickly, otherwise there will be no consequence for a country that has been proven to operate a systematic doping regime.”

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, added: “National Anti-Doping Organisations worldwide are working hard to protect the integrity of sport and the interests of clean athletes.

"We all need to have trust in the international anti-doping system and it is up to WADA to act as the gatekeeper in that regard. Strong and decisive action is required immediately as trust in the system is quickly deteriorating.”

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