The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as part of a crackdown on drug cheating in Russia. The decision to suspend RUSADA for non-compliance had full support of the WADA foundation board.

Recently, the WADA-accredited that processed blood and urine samples from Russian athletes on behalf of the Russian athletics federation was decertified and handed a six-month provisional suspension. The head of the Russian doping laboratory has left his position after accreditation of the laboratory was suspended. A disciplinary committee has been appointed by WADA to look at the possible longer suspension or recertification.

Ex-WADA President Dick Pound, who led the independent commission, remarked the probe found cover-ups, destruction of samples, bribes to conceal positive tests, and evidence of Russian state security services of colluding with the athletics federation of Russia to enable athletes to freely dope. Pound added Russia is not the only country in the world with this problem so let’s not try and make it look as though we think that is the case. The former WADA head said we know about Turkey, we know about Kenya and we know about others so you have to be somewhat even-handed so you don’t look like you are picking on one country even if that country has a major problem. Pound alleged that Kenya has a “real problem with doping“. Kenya is in line to face a possible suspension of four years on the lines of Russia.

Russia can now make a return to international events only after they manage to prove that a new framework to stop doping is in place.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko remarked the country will reform its scandal-hit anti-doping watchdog RUSADA instead of abolishing it altogether. The comments of Mutko suggested Russia was willing to bring in reforms, though to some extent at its own terms, to avoid the threat of being barred from next year’s Rio Olympics. Mutko commented we are saddened by WADA’s decisions, but we respect them and also said we are ready to start immediately implementing the decisions. The Russian sports minister also remarked we are prepared to fully reshape RUSADA, however it is important to understand that the agency has not been liquidated and will continue its work.

WADA also found Israel, Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ukraine non-compliant of the WADA Code and they can no longer conduct anti-doping programs. The World Anti-Doping Agency has also put Brazil, France, Belgium, Greece, Mexico, and Spain on compliance “watch list” and these countries will have time until March 2016 to get things in place and bring their anti-doping programs in line with the WADA Code.

The participation of Russia in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is under doubt now because of the findings and recommendations of the WADA independent commission. However, Russia may find relief from the fact that a few days back International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach remarked he is confident that the administration of Russia and IAAF chief Sebastian Coe would do their best to ensure Russia had a track-and-field team in Rio.

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