Montreal: The prospect of Russia being banned from next year’s Tokyo Olympics has loomed closer as a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) panel recommended the country’s drug-testing authority be declared non-compliant with international rules.
In a statement, WADA said on Friday its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) had recommended that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be suspended again when the global anti-doping watchdog’s Executive Committee meets in Paris on December 9.
If WADA chiefs adopt the recommendation, Russia faces severe sanctions including a possible ban from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The CRC issued its recommendation after asking Russia to explain “inconsistencies” in laboratory data handed over by Moscow to WADA investigators in January.
Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia’s controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.
RUSADA had been suspended for nearly three years over revelations of a vast, state-backed doping regime which including a systematic conspiracy to switch tainted samples at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
WADA had previously warned Russia would face the “most stringent sanctions” if any of the data handed over was found to have been tampered with.
In its Friday statement, WADA said the CRC suggested “serious consequences in line with the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories.”
The United States Anti-Doping Agency, which was sharply critical of WADA’s decision to lift its suspension of reinstate RUSADA, called for a lengthy ban following Friday’s announcement.
“Anything less than a four-year sanction for this critical violation that includes aggravating circumstances following years of denial and deceit would be another injustice in a long line of many for clean athletes,” USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in emailed comments.