Games ban for Russia

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 10 Dec 2019

Russia will miss next year's Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games after the World Anti-Doping Agency yesterday banned the powerhouse from global sporting events for four years over manipulated doping data.

Wada's executive committee unanimously decided that Russia be handed the four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators earlier this year.

Not only will Russia be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, but its government officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.

Under the sanctions, Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete in Tokyo and Beijing under a neutral flag - but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what Wada believes was a state-sponsored system of doping. "They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, that they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation," Wada spokesman James Fitzgerald said.

Richard McLaren's independent report, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015.

It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency being suspended for nearly three years. The agency was controversially reinstated in September 2018 - on the condition that data from the Moscow laboratory be fully disclosed.

Former Wada president Dick Pound said Moscow had this time gone "too far".

A majority of Wada's influential athlete committee had called overnight for a "complete ban on Russian participation".

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