The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency for mishandling accusations that Russia had executed an elaborate cheating and doping scheme dating back years.

Bach went on to remark that the slow response of WADA had put sports officials in a bind so close to the Summer Olympics. The IOC President also defended decision of the IOC not to ban the entire Russian delegation from the Olympics. Bach remarked the International Olympic Committee was not responsible for the timing of the latest WADA report that came out as late as July 18, just a few weeks before the Rio Olympics. Bach added the IOC is not responsible for the fact that different information which was offered to WADA already a couple of years ago was not followed up and also commented that the IOC is not responsible for the accreditation or supervision of anti-doping laboratories.

In reaction to the comments, World Anti-Doping Agency responded publicly and said it understands that the timing of the McLaren Investigation Report has been destabilizing for a number of organizations as they prepare for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. In a statement, WADA said it wishes to factually clarify that the agency acted immediately on allegations concerning Russia when it had corroborated evidence and the power to do so under the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA added in the statement that it quickly initiated its Independent Commission when German-based ARD released their first documentary in December 2014. The World Anti-Doping Agency said the Commission, which was chaired by Richard W. Pound, commenced its investigation in January 2015 when WADA acquired its new powers of investigation under the 2015 Code. Richard W. Pound said the Commission did not uncover concrete evidence to the effect that the Russian state was manipulating the doping control process while our Independent Commission’s Report suggested that doping in Russia was likely not restricted to athletics, and that the Russian secret services (FSB) were present within the Sochi and Moscow laboratories. Pound also remarked the Pound Commission leveraged all information that the whistleblowers had provided; and yet, there was no concrete evidence to support State manipulation.

Craig Reedie, WADA President, said WADA had concrete evidence suggesting Russian state involvement that could be investigated by initiating the McLaren Investigation only when CBS 60 Minutes and the New York Times, on 8 and 12 May 2016 respectively, published the allegations from the former director of the Moscow and Sochi laboratories, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.

Olivier Niggli, Director General of WADA, said WADA further to the International Olympic Committee’s criteria being outlined on 24 July has facilitated the transfer of relevant information that is available to date, concerning individual athletes, from the McLaren Investigation team to International Federations. Niggli also said it should be noted however that Professor McLaren’s focus thus far was on establishing involvement of the Russian State and not regarding individual athletes that may have benefitted and also commented that WADA will continue supporting anti-doping organizations by providing information as and when it becomes available via McLaren’s ongoing Investigation.

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