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Russia could be banned from Olympics and Euro 2020 over drug anomalies

The Guardian logo The Guardian 2019-11-18 Paul MacInnes
a large ship in a body of water: St Petersburg is due to host four Euro 2020 matches, a tournament with venues all around the continent. © EPA St Petersburg is due to host four Euro 2020 matches, a tournament with venues all around the continent.

Russia could be banned from next year’s Olympic Games and the European Championship in football after the World Anti-Doping Agency was expected to recommend it be found “non-compliant” over anomalies in drug testing results.

Wada’s executive committee will meet on 9 December to assess the conclusion of its independent compliance review committee, which has been inspecting laboratory data belonging to Russia’s anti-doping agency Rusada.

If the executive agrees with the findings, Russia could not only receive a blanket ban from participation in major sporting events but also have hosting rights removed, including St Petersburg’s status as a Euro 2020 venue.

Related: Russia at risk of Tokyo Olympics ban over ‘inconsistent’ Moscow lab data

The data, subject to inspection by the CRC, relates to a period from January 2012 to August 2015. It was obtained by Wada earlier this year under the terms of a settlement relating to a previous drugs ban. The data is missing positive results that were made public by a whistleblower and a deadline for Rusada to explain those omissions has passed.

A statement released by Wada on Mondayread: “Wada confirms its independent CRC met yesterday, 17 November, to consider a report from the Agency’s Intelligence and Investigations Department and independent forensic experts and, accordingly, to discuss the ongoing compliance procedure brought against Rusada.

“In line with the process, the CRC will now bring a formal recommendation to the Wada executive committee, under the chairmanship of Wada president Sir Craig Reedie whose term of office runs until December 31, 2019. The ExCo is scheduled to meet on 9 December to discuss the recommendation.”

While the contents of the CRC’s recommendation have not been made public, that they would choose to make one at all suggests they have not had the answers they needed from Russian authorities. If the ExCo confirms the recommendation and Russia appeals, it would be up to the court of arbitration for sport to adjudicate and confirm any eventual punishment.

The latest developments will serve to rekindle the controversy over the handling of Russia’s doping infractions. An independent inquiry led by Professor Richard McLaren in 2016 found “state-sponsored” and “systematic” doping had occurred across multiple sports.

Russia was declared non-compliant but the country’s athletes still competed during the 2016 Olympic Games, in Brazil, and Russia hosted the football World Cup in 2018. The country was then reinstated as compliant in September 2018, with access to the Moscow laboratory data one of the conditions laid down.

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