Russia faces ban from all major sport

Luke Bradshaw
·Sports Writer
A man holds a national flag during the 'Russia is in my heart!' rally in support of Russian athletes on February 3, 2018 in central Moscow. The IOC's disciplinary commission banned 43 Russian athletes for life and disqualified Russia from competing at the Pyeongchang Games over the doping conspiracy. Following an appeal by 42 athletes, CAS cleared 28 citing insufficient evidence against them and also lifted the life ban on 11 others, but barred them from taking part in the 2018 Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOV        (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Rally in support of Russian athletes (Credit: Getty Images)

Russia could potentially be banned from all major sport events, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Wada’s chairman of their compliance panel, Jonathan Taylor, said that there’s “discrepancies” and evidence that “data has been deleted”. Russia now has three weeks to provide their response to Wada’s findings.

The data in question was given to Wada in January of this year (after it had missed several other deadlines to do so), as part of the process that would integrate them back into competition, following its three-year suspension for its state-sponsored doping programme.

Wada have been clear that the investigation is ongoing and nothing has been confirmed as of yet. If they conclude that their initial findings are true, they could ban Russia from major events, including the Olympic Games, World Cup and European Championships.

Russia could appeal the decision, but the case would go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) if they did.

Silver medalist Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova celebrates on the podium of the women's discus throw at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012 in London.  AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/GettyImages)
Darya Pishchalnikova was banned for doping (Credit: Getty Images)

Taylor said: "This is hypothetical at the moment, but if the experts maintain their current view, then the compliance review committee will make a recommendation to send a notice to Rusada [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] asserting 'you're non-compliant' and proposing consequences.

"In a case with a 'critical non-compliance', there is now a starting point for the sanctions that can go up and down, and they do include sanctions against Rusada and options include no events hosted in Russia, and they do include no participation of Russian athletes in world championships and up to the Olympics.

"Everyone has agreed they will enforce what Cas agrees. We've got to be very careful. Procedure has got to be followed. We can't prejudge the outcome."

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The different governing bodies make cases like this a complicated one. Wada recommended at Russia should be banned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected the proposal, but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) upheld it, so Russian athletes competing in athletics were banned from competing in Rio, but those in other sports were allowed to do so.

The World Championships begin in Doha on Friday, with the IAAF yesterday reiterating that Russia would not be allowed to compete.

Taylor added: "Obviously if the experts say the Russians have deliberately tampered with this evidence, of course it's disappointing. But the question now is how is Wada and its stakeholders going to respond?

"If they are able to respond in a way that sends a clear message that this kind of conduct carries severe sanctions, that's all you can do.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 12, 2019: Russia's Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov during a press conference on the 8th "Russia Is A Sports Country" international sports forum, at the Rossiya Segodnya news agency. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)
Russia's Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov (Credit: Getty Images)

"You can't stop cheating. You can only make sure you've got a system that allows you to respond to it."

Speaking to Russian news agency Tass, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov, said: "What exactly are these discrepancies and what are they related to? Experts in digital technology from both sides are already in collaboration. For our part, we continue to provide all possible assistance."

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