Athletes eye ban on all Russian competitors as Putin plans appeal
A blanket ban of Russian athletes will be discussed when the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) athletes’ representatives raise concerns over the doping scandal.
Russia’s Moscow laboratory has been declassified for the second time since 2015 after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency [Rusada] was found guilty of tampering with anti-doping data this year to cover up positive drugs tests.
Russia was reinstated last year following a three-year ban for doping offences.
The Wada ruling means Russian athletes will not be represented at major sporting events for the next four years.
The ban affects next year’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The ban does not affect Euro 2020, where St Petersburg is a host city, because Uefa is not defined as a “major event organisation”.
An appeal is expected to be lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is seen as having a high chance of success.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was “reason to appeal” against the four-year ban.
Russia has 21 days to respond.
According to Kremlin mouthpiece Tass, Putin said: “We have all the reasons to file an appeal to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport].”
Russian athletes who can prove they are clean can compete at the 2020 Olympics as neutral athletes, like the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the 2018 Pyeongchang winter games.
The Russian flag and anthem will be not be allowed at events.
The country would also be banned from hosting international sporting events.
But the Wada athletes committee is discussing the possibility of an appeal against the restrictions to impose a blanket ban, which would prevent all Russian athletes from competing.
Russian athletes have said the country had got what it deserved.
Four-time Olympic biathlon champion Alexander Tikhonov told the Moscow Times: “We got what we deserved. I am with Wada on this one.”
Former tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 45, who won two Olympic gold in 2000, condemned Russia’s doping record. The Russian said: “There was systemised doping in Russia, I have no doubt about it. Someone should be punished for it. Russian sport could have restored its reputation if the people who started it all just went out and said: ‘Yes, I screwed up, please forgive me.’ But no one wants to take responsibility for this. In the end, everything is shifted on the poor athletes.”
Picture credit: Wikimedia