Today, the great majority of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) decided to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), following comprehensive deliberation of a recommendation by the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). This decision is subject to strict conditions.
Nine members of the ExCo voted in favor of the CRC recommendation; two (WADA’s Vice-President and Oceania) voted against; and one (Europe) abstained.
Meeting in the Seychelles upon the invitation of the National Sports Council of the Seychelles, the ExCo deliberated at length as to whether Russian authorities had fulfilled the two remaining criteria of the agreed RUSADA Roadmap to Compliance, namely:
1. That the responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia must publically accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation; and
2. That the Russian Government must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored samples and electronic data in the former Moscow Laboratory, which are sealed off due to a Federal investigation.
On 13 September 2018, the Russian Minister of Sport wrote to the WADA President, agreeing to accept the two remaining conditions in the Roadmap as set out in the WADA President’s letter of 22 June 2018.
At today’s meeting, the CRC’s analysis of the Minister’s letter was discussed.
As it relates to the first criterion, the Chair of the CRC, Jonathan Taylor QC, explained that the letter from the Russian Ministry of Sport sent to WADA on 13 September 2018 amounts to an acceptance of all of the findings of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Schmid Report (which itself endorsed the core findings of the WADA-commissioned McLaren Investigation reports), including that “a number of individuals within the Ministry of Sport and its subordinated entities" were involved in the manipulations of the anti-doping system in Russia. The Russian Ministry of Sport’s letter states: “The Russian Federation fully accepted the decision of the IOC Executive Board of 5 December 2017 that was made based on the findings of the Schmid Report.”
The ExCo resolved to reinstate RUSADA, subject strictly to the following post-reinstatement conditions:
§ RUSADA and the Russian Ministry of Sport must procure that the authentic Information Management System (LIMS) data and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory set out in the WADA President's letter of 22 June 2018 are received by WADA (via access to the data by an independent expert agreeable to both WADA and the Russian authorities) by no later than 31 December 2018.
§ RUSADA and the Russian Ministry of Sport must procure that any re-analysis of samples required by WADA following review of such data is completed by no later than 30 June 2019.
In addition, as per the RUSADA Roadmap to Compliance, a successful audit of RUSADA must be carried out within four months to ensure RUSADA continues to meet compliance standards.
These conditions are critical requirements under the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which came into force on 1 April 2018. If they are not met, then the ExCo will consider proposals from the CRC to address such non-compliance based on the relevant provisions of the ISCCS.
As part of WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program, additional measures will be applied, which are designed to ensure that RUSADA is effective, robust and independent in its operational decisions and activities; that it demonstrates good governance, accountability and transparency; and that it operates in an environment that is free from undue external influence. These additional monitoring measures will include, in particular, the continuation of the presence of a WADA-commissioned Independent International Expert at RUSADA’s headquarters and of a WADA-approved Independent International Expert on RUSADA’s Supervisory Board; close cooperation with WADA; regular reports to WADA and public reporting of key RUSADA activities; as well as potential additional audits.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “Today, the great majority of WADA’s ExCo members decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the Code subject to strict conditions, upon recommendation by the Agency’s independent CRC and in accordance with an agreed process. This decision provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples with a clear commitment by the ExCo that should this timeline not be met, the ExCo would support the CRC’s recommendation to reinstate non-compliance.
“By the terms of today’s ExCo decision, we now have a clear timeline to be granted access to the Moscow Laboratory, which has been sealed off due to a federal investigation. The sooner we are able to access the required data and samples, with the potential to implicate or exonerate a great many athletes, the better. If the Russian authorities continue to refuse access and do not meet our deadlines, then RUSADA will again be declared non-compliant under the ISCCS that offers a much more robust legal framework and a clear process. Without this pragmatic approach, we would continue with the impasse and the laboratory data could have remained out of our reach indefinitely, depriving our investigators of potentially critical information. The raw data is the missing piece that will complement the LIMS database and help conclude WADA’s McLaren and Operation LIMS investigations.
“Today, we are in a much better position. WADA understands that this decision will not please everybody. When cheating is as rampant and as organized as it was in Russia, as was definitively established thanks to investigations commissioned by WADA, it undermines so much of what sport stands for. Clean athletes were denied places at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as other major events, and others were cheated of medals. It is entirely understandable that they should be wary about the supposed rehabilitation of offenders. The pressure on WADA to ensure that Russian sport is genuinely clean now and in the future is one that we feel very keenly and we will maintain the highest levels of scrutiny on RUSADA’s operations and independence.”
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli added: “Since November 2015, WADA and its partners have been working very hard to rebuild a credible, and sustainable, anti-doping program in Russia that will ensure the protection of clean athletes inside and outside of the country.
“Throughout this whole process, WADA’s leadership has been consistent in accepting the judgement of independent investigations and the advice of the independent CRC. Our commitment to protecting clean sport remains as strong as ever. WADA has adhered to the RUSADA Roadmap to Compliance and, based upon the CRC’s recommendation, the Agency sought a concrete and realistic way to implement the two outstanding conditions of the Roadmap. Today’s decision will achieve this and is equipping WADA, for the first time, with a clear timeline on delivery of data and samples. If Russian authorities do not deliver on what has been agreed or if RUSADA does not maintain the high operational standard it has now reached, then it will fall back into non-compliance once again, this time under the more robust terms of the new ISCCS.”
CRC Chair, Jonathan Taylor QC, said: “Everyone agrees that WADA must get the analytical data that underlies the LIMS database, so that it can be determined who has a case to answer and who does not. The only debate today has been as to how we can achieve that goal as quickly and effectively as possible. Today’s decision means that provision of the data in the manner agreed is now a critical requirement under the new ISCCS regime. If that requirement is not met by the end of the year, WADA’s Executive Committee will be in a position to respond strongly and unequivocally, and its members were clear today that that is exactly what they will do.”
WADA’s Foundation Board declared RUSADA non-compliant in November 2015, following revelations of widespread doping in Russian sport that were exposed via WADA’s independent Pound Commission and subsequent McLaren Investigation.
The 12-member ExCo is WADA's ultimate policy-making body, which is composed equally of representatives from the Olympic Movement and Governments of the world. The CRC is an independent, non-political body that provides advice, guidance and recommendations to the ExCo on compliance matters.
Today’s ExCo meeting considered numerous other matters that will be reported upon in a subsequent media release.