The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently announced that Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has been permitted by it and its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to plan and coordinate testing.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has been made authorized to plan and coordinate testing, using its trained Doping Control Officers (DCOs), under the supervision of WADA-appointed International Experts.

WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, praised the role played by UK Anti-Doping during the period of non-compliance of RUSADA. Niggli remarked WADA at this juncture would also like to acknowledge the efforts of all involved in working alongside the Agency to rebuild a credible anti-doping system in Russia. The WADA Director General commented that we would particularly like to recognize UKAD, which has ensured that targeted and intelligence-led testing be carried out on athletes inside and outside of the country during RUSADA’s period of non-compliance. Niggli also remarked that the work done by UK Anti-Doping in Russia is an excellent example of how an established and world-renowned National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) can help mentor another NADO in need of support.

UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead remarked we welcome news that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is now in a position to recommence the testing of their athletes. Sapstead remarked UK Anti-Doping since February 2016 has been delivering the testing program for Russian athletes, during RUSADA’s period of non-compliance. The UKAD Chief Executive also said it is incumbent on us as one of the world’s more experienced national anti-doping organizations, with a strategic imperative to level the playing field for our athletes to share our experience and expertise with a range of international partners, and to support those countries or organizations where a void is created, so we can safeguard clean athletes around the world.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie called it as an important step forward in rebuilding anti-doping in Russia. Reedie also commented that we strongly encourage Russia to continue their efforts in the interest of clean athletes worldwide. The World Anti-Doping Agency said it has decided to allow RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing after it agreed to fulfill certain conditions. These include the implementation of a conflict of interest policy, access to biological passports of athletes, and the guarantee that anti-doping officials would be permitted into the so-called “closed cities”, the military units where many Russian athletes train. WADA had also asked for the removal of Yelena Isinbayeva from her position as chairman of RUSADA. In May, the World Anti-Doping Agency had remarked she was a barrier to compliance with the world anti-doping body’s code. The double Olympic pole vault champion has stepped down as chairman but still remains a member of RUSADA.

Previously, a blanket ban was recommended by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to let the individual sports’ governing bodies to decide.

Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s deputy prime Minister, remarked that this ruling by WADA was a very important step towards RUSADA becoming compliant. Mutko added we are striving to create a strong, independent anti-doping agency which he believes will win the respect and recognition of its colleagues.

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