WADA is ready to forgive Russia

At the same time, Moscow will not have to repent and admit to the existence of the state system for supporting doping.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has clarified its position regarding the September 20 withdrawal of the disqualification from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), which lasts for almost three years. The WADA admitted that they really softened their position, refusing to acknowledge the hard conclusions of the Richard McLaren Commission, who believed that Russia had an institutional doping system. Instead, WADA agreed to restore RUSAD's rights in return for the recognition of the conclusions of the commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) under the leadership of Samuel Schmid. The latter considered that, although anti-doping rules were violated in Russia and the employees of the Ministry of Sport were involved, there are no grounds to say that the scheme was maintained at the highest level.

The World Anti-Doping Agency named the reasons why the WADA Compliance Committee (CRC) last Friday recommended the restoration of RUSADA's rights, which has been disqualified for almost three years. Note that the news was unexpected. Moreover, the day before the announcement of the CRC decision, the British media claimed that the recommendation of the committee would again be negative - the BBC reported this, claiming that its correspondents had read the contents of the CRC letter.

However, as it turned out, the above letter was drafted a month ago. During this time, much has changed. Most importantly, WADA has repeatedly refused to consider the issue of reinstating Rusad's rights until the Russian side acknowledges the findings of the Richard McLaren Commission, suddenly softened its position. Recall that Mr. McLaren argued that an institutional doping system was established in Russia. The Russian side with this formulation was categorically disagree, which led the situation to a dead end. As a result, WADA agreed that the recognition of the conclusions of the report of the IOC commission under the leadership of Samuel Schmid will be enough to restore RUSADA. It should be recalled that I laid down the basis for the decision of the IOC to ban the Russian national team from performing at the Winter Games-2018 in Pyeongchang under its own flag (the Russians competed in the status of neutral athletes). However, unlike Richard McLaren, Samuel Schmid did not claim that the doping system in Russia was created and maintained with the direct approval of the country's top leadership. Instead, Mr. Schmid limited himself to statements that some heads of the Ministry of Sport were involved in the doping system.

To soften the position WADA went in the summer, as informed by the Ministry of Sports in a letter dated June 22. After a long meditation, the Russian side agreed to fully recognize both the conclusions of the Schmid commission and all the decisions of the IOC taken on their basis. This follows from a letter sent on September 13 by the Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov to WADA president Craig Reed. In the document, Minister Kolobkov reports that "The Russian Federation fully adopts the decision of the IOC executive committee on December 5, 2017, based on the report of Samuel Schmid." Mr. Kolobkov also reports that Russia will fulfill the second key requirement of WADA - to provide access to samples stored in the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory. However, the terms are not called. It is also noted that access to samples will be provided in agreement with the Investigative Committee of Russia, in the production of which there is a criminal case against the former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, and later the key informant of WADA Grigori Rodchenkov. By the way, the head of the CRC, Jonathan Taylor, noted that Russia will have no more than six months to fulfill its commitment to admission to the samples. Otherwise RUSADA can be disqualified again.

Craig Reedy explained that WADA went on a compromise version, because it was already impossible to sit and do nothing. "Now the situation has moved from a dead center," - said the president of WADA. In addition, the WADA said that they went on a compromise, guided by pragmatism and fearing that serious progress made by RUSAD in the transformation into a structure that meets the requirements of WADA, may be lost.

Note that the disqualification of RUSADA remained, in fact, the only obstacle to the full restoration of the rights of Russian sports. Until now, the All-Russian Athletics Federation and the Russian Paralympic Committee have been disqualified, and the Russian Biathlon Union has been demoted to the temporary member of the International Biathlon Union (IBU).