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Tuesday 02, Aug 2016

  Discord Between IOC And WADA Over Russian Doping Scandal

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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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Friday 29, Jul 2016

  WADA Exceeded Power While Compiling McLaren Report, Says FINA President

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission “exceeded their power” while compiling the explosive McLaren Report into Russian doping, according to International Swimming Federation (FINA) President Julio Maglione.

Maglione, now an honorary International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, said he believes the International Olympic Committee should have itself handled the matter. The 80-year-old remarked WADA members exceeded their power and this needs to be clarified sooner or later. The FINA President also commented WADA is an organization with a function to control the doping abuse, approve the relevant rules and not to talk about the situation in a particular country and added it must be done by the head of the Olympic Games that is by the International Olympic Committee.

The recently-released McLaren Report disclosed a state-sponsored Russian doping scheme by Russia at their home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. This report also implicated a string of summer sports and events.

The report findings prompted the International Olympic Committee to review legal options to impose a complete blanket ban on Russian athletes from next month’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and follow the lead of the world governing body of athletics that has already ruled out the country’s track and field stars. The IOC ultimately decided not to follow the path of the IAAF and deferred the decision on Russian participation to the individual International Federations. The IOC and its President Thomas Bach received criticism for their decision and critics claimed the International Olympic Committee displayed a soft touch due to close relations with those in power in Russia.

In another development, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the report of the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chaired by Canadian sports law Professor Richard McLaren, would be scrutinized by the Russian Investigative Committee (IC). Mutko added our current task is to calmly work in the legal framework and also commented that McLaren’s report was sent to IC and they are scrutinizing it. The Russian Sports Minister also said the Ministry of Sports has set up a special commission that investigates circumstances mentioned in the report and he hopes experts will provide all facts to us and if they are convincing, measures will be taken by the end of November.

McLaren’s report claimed there was evidence that the sports ministry of Russia and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service (FSB) supported the doping program in Russian sports. The revelations of the McLaren report were built on those of an independent commission, which was led by Dick Pound and which McLaren was a part of. Canadian Beckie Scott, chair of the WADA athlete committee, remarked he thinks we felt a little bit vindicated today because we have been calling for report since last year and added we as a community were very upset to read about the unprecedented levels of doping and the subversion and undermining of Olympic values that was taking place in Russia.

The 31st Summer Olympic Games will be held in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.

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Tuesday 05, Jul 2016

  Former Anti-Doping Lab Chief Accused Of Being Doping Mastermind

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A Russian investigation has revealed that Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, established a doping scheme in which he engaged in the sale of prohibited substances to athletes.

In June, the committee opened criminal proceedings against Grigory Rodchenkov on charges of abuse of authority.

In a statement, Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, remarked Rodchenkov also promised to help athletes obtain a clean doping record. The statement further reads that Rodchenkov purchased these substances in the United States according to preliminary investigation and promised to cover the fact that banned substances had been detected in their samples when selling them to clients. The Russian Investigative Committee spokesman also said the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory could have destroyed the samples to conceal the selling of prohibited substances and avoid criminal responsibility that would bring him a much stricter punishment, than that exists for violating World Anti-Doping Agency standards.

The investigation stated Rodchenkov deliberately decided in December 2014 to destroy 1,437 blood samples despite receiving a letter from the World Anti-Doping Agency requesting that he should keep the samples.

Markin said WADA sent a letter to him on December 9 demanding all probes in the organization, which had been taken over previous three months beginning from September 10, 2014, and those taken later on, were frozen and kept respectively till further instructions from WADA and added Grigory confirmed on December 10, 2014 assuring the samples were kept properly but issued an oral demand on December 12, 2014 to discard 1,437 probes, where 22 probes had been kept by then for less than three months and added the staff discarded the samples that very day.

It is also claimed by the investigation that Grigory Rodchenkov destroyed doping test samples of Russian athletes despite WADA forbidding it to hide his alleged trade in banned substances and avoid prosecution.

The Investigative Committee also revealed Rodchenkov’s sister Marina in 2012 was convicted for the illegal trafficking of substances that could have been used for doping. It was further added by the Investigative Committee that investigators have reasons to believe that Rodchenkov was not simply a perpetrator, but the mastermind and organizer of a number of such schemes. The spokesman for the Committee said there is a possibility that new suspects may emerge in the case of Rodchenkov.

The Investigations Committee has sent papers to the Prosecutor-General’s Office for questioning the ex-chief of the Russian anti-doping lab, who is currently living in the United States.

In Mid-May, the New York Times published an interview with Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed that the sports authorities of Russia had allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win more medals at the home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Grigory added banned substances were taken by some Russian Olympic gold medalists. The former anti-doping official announced his readiness to offer evidence to WADA and the International Olympic Committee. He also remarked he can also share evidence about the need to re-check the doping samples from the 2014 Winter Olympics that are kept in Lausanne.

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