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Thursday 21, Sep 2017

  NADOs Accused Of Abusing Authority

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The head of a key State Duma has claimed that countries calling for Russia to be banned from Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang next year have exceeded their authority.

Mikhail Degtyarev, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs, has claimed unfair pressure was being put on the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia. Degtyarev added these are attempts to exert pressure on Russia and the International Olympic Committee and added this is unfair competition. Degtyarev also commented that he is sure that athletes whose anti-doping agencies try to exert pressure on Russia by non-sporting methods would not support this and also commented that everyone acknowledges that without Russian athletes sport cannot be full-fledged in principle.

A total of 17 countries, who are members of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations (iNADO), demanded that Russia be barred from Pyeongchang 2018 after allegations in the McLaren Report of “institutionalized doping” involving the Russian government.

In a statement, the NADOs had said the Russian Olympic Committee was at best negligently oblivious to the corruption of its anti-doping program that was delivered by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. The statement further reads that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was complicit, or even an active player, in the corruption and added that many clean athletes were hurt by this, including Russians. The statement said there must be consequences for this gross misconduct.

The iNADO statement was condemned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Sir Craig Reedie and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Reedie accused the NADOs of looking “backwards rather than forwards”.

Russia is likely to escape a blanket ban from next year’s Winter Olympic Games after the calls from a group of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) to exclude them from Pyeongchang 2018 were dismissed by the IOC. In the past, the IOC had suggested that Russia is likely to avoid a blanket ban when they amended the Olympic Charter to include a statute that allows them to fine teams and athletes for doping and competition manipulation. The developments came as interim reports from two IOC Commissions – led by Samuel Schmid and Denis Oswald – into Russian doping were presented to the membership.

Oswald, who was entrusted with the task of looking into allegations of sample manipulation, claimed they had enough to sanction some of the athletes implicated in the Richard McLaren report. The interim report of Schmid shed little light on the present state of his investigation that was focused on the alleged institutional conspiracy involving the Russian Government.

Oswald added we are working as quickly as we can but at the same time we have to respect the process that is in place. He commented it is a difficult task because we had to go through a lot of documents to find the evidence and it is not an easy case.

IOC members lined up to criticize the NADOs for their statement following the presentations of the reports from Schmid, Oswald, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Friday 17, Mar 2017

  Declaration On Global Anti-Doping Reforms Unveiled By IOC Board

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The executive Board members of International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted that governments and sports organizations must be “represented equally” in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The IOC executive board also recommended a a completely “neutral” President as vice-president of WADA as well as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) assuming sanctioning responsibility. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, rather than the World Anti-Doping Agency would also be responsible for sanctioning all organizations deemed non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The section on WADA governance reads since the sports organizations and the Governments are both founding stakeholders on an equal basis, they must be represented equally on the WADA Foundation Board and Executive Committee. It was also added that the role of athletes on the Foundation Board and Executive Committee must be strengthened and the representation of athletes must be elected (not appointed as now) athlete representatives. The WADA governance section also said the WADA Boards should also include independent members.

The IOC declaration also made it clear that they consider interest conflicts as just as much of a problem for Government representatives. It added WADA must be equally independent from both sports organizations and from national interests as this is necessary because even the perception of a conflict of interest can be considered damaging to the credibility of the anti-doping system. The declaration by IOC further reads that this with regard to national interests is particularly important because of the recent challenges to the system from certain NADOs, from disputes between different NADOs, and from appeals by IFs against decisions of National Anti-Doping Institutions.

The suggestions made by the IOC board directly contradicts the core theme of a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) position paper that proposed no person serving in a governance role in the IOC, any NOC (National Olympic Committee), any IF (International Federation), or ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees) would serve in a WADA Board role. It was also proposed that WADA would be responsible for compliance monitoring including investigation of all code signatories.

It was agreed by the IOC that there should be no sporting involvement in testing and sanctioning. However, it insisted that it would be pointless to exclude all experts from the organization completely. IOC Presidential spokesperson Mark Adams remarked the call by some that there should be no expertise in sport in the governance of an organization which is looking into doping in sport, is plainly ridiculous. Adams further commented that all governance involves experts in the subjects and also remarked what is important is to have a separation between the governance and the prosecution of the cases, in other words the sanctioning and the investigation. The IOC Presidential spokesperson also remarked if those two are kept separate from the governance then you have a good, well-run system which runs along the separation of powers.

IOC President Thomas Bach has also requested a meeting with Sir Craig Reedie, the WADA President, and Richard McLaren, the author of the WADA-commissioned investigation into Russian doping.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Declaration On Global Anti-Doping Reforms Unveiled By IOC Board

Wednesday 18, Jan 2017

  Lawyer Of Russian Skiers Slams McLaren Report

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The lawyer defending two Russian skiers Evgeniy Belov and Aleksandr Legkov has claimed that there are a significant number of inconsistencies in the second part of the McLaren report into alleged Russian doping.

Christof Wieschemann also said the inconsistencies make the identification of athletes questionable. The lawyer said you know that different documents are available that refer to the athletes if you are familiar with the McLaren report and added these documents are not consistent.

Referring to the Russian cross country skier Evgeniy Belov, Wieschemann said he is mentioned for two competitions, in which he did not participate. Belov, who competed for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, was provisionally suspended in December 2016 over allegations of doping. The lawyer also pointed out that the cross country skier was not mentioned in several competitions, in which he did participate. Wieschemann also said there are also no less than ten faulty records in different lists in the McLaren report that refer to Aleksandr Legkov, a Sochi 2014 Olympic champion, who was also suspended over doping allegations.

The lawyer added the inconsistencies discovered by him are not some isolated single cases but a part of a larger flaw. Wieschemann emphasized that he does not think it is a minor error but a big bug he found out. Wieschemann added he would like to highlight that he does not want to challenge the results of the McLaren report in total but said the weakness of the McLaren report is that he was not ordered to investigate directly single athlete and added that he used documents he received from third parties. Referring to his clients Belov and Legkov, Wieschemann remarked it is unlawful and they are liable for damages if the reasons to suspend both athletes are not sufficient.

Wieschemann also said he had already informed the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is expecting a response within a week’s time. The lawyer added we at first have to exhaust the sports arbitration, in particular through the Court Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne and said we will decide afterwards what is going on. Wieschemann said he is hopeful that we will receive a positive result both from the FIS Doping Panel and probably from the International Olympic Committee.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission, headed by Canadian sports law professor, Richard McLaren, delivered the second part of its report in December. This report claimed that over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in the summer, winter, and Paralympic games could have been involved in a manipulation system for concealing positive doping tests. The FIS suspended six Russian skiers, including Belov and Legkov, following its publication. The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) provisionally suspended four Russian skeleton athletes from competing but later lifted the suspension as the federation found no sufficient evidence for the ban. The reversal on the provisional suspension of four Russian skeleton athletes gave the green light for them to compete at the skeleton European Cup in Germany on January 14-15.

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Saturday 14, Jan 2017

  US Figure Skater Had No Idea Of Russian Doping

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American figure skater Gracie Gold, who finished fourth at the Winter Games, said she never could have imagined the scope of Russian doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Russian Adelina Sotnikova won a surprising gold for the host nation. South Korea’s Yuna Kim could be elevated to the gold medal that would be second in a row at the Olympics if Adelina is stripped of the gold medal. Italy’s Carolina Kostner would get the silver and Gracie Gold would be awarded bronze.

The International Olympic Committee recently announced that 28 unidentified athletes across a variety of sports presently are under investigation. Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport reported that Sotnikova is among them.

Russia came away from Sochi Olympics with an impressive medal haul in figure skating. The team of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the gold medals; Sotnikova took the gold medal and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took silver in pairs, and the Russian squad captured gold in the new team event. Canada earned silver and the United States took bronze in the team event.

Gold said everything is still under investigation as far as she knows. The figure skater said she cannot really speak to that and added she has always chosen to skate clean. Gold added she does believe doping is unfair to all the other athletes and further said that is kind of what she has to say about that that she has always chosen to compete clean and compete my best as a clean athlete. Gold added however it is certainly causing some headlines, though. Gold said at least what the headlines are saying about the scope of the doping scandal in Sochi, she doesn’t think anyone could have expected anything so widespread. The American figure skater added she doesn’t think anyone expected that.

The 2012 World Junior silver medalist and a two-time U.S. national champion started skating at the age of 8. She competed in pairs with Sean Hickey and they placed eighth in juvenile pairs at the 2007 U.S. Junior Championships. She made her international debut at the Junior Grand Prix in Estonia and won the gold medal. Gold won gold in all seven of her competitions in the 2011-12 season. Gold placed first in the short program with 72.12 points at the 2014 U.S. Championships. This was the highest-ever ladies’ score earned at the U.S. Championships under the International Skating Union Judging System.

Gold remarked she competed against Adelina for many years. The US figure skater said she loved her and Adelina is still a sweetheart. Gold added she had found a lot of Russians to be kind of lovely people despite the stigma of doping that has become associated with them.

Recently, leaders from 19 national anti-doping agencies, including the United States, argued that Russia should be excluded from all international sports events, including next year’s Winter Games in South Korea. The national anti-doping agencies’ leaders also urged Russia to be stripped of its right to host major events such as next year’s World Cup.

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Tuesday 15, Nov 2016

  Reedie Backed By IOC For New 3-Year WADA Term

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The International Olympic Committee is supporting the candidature of current World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie for a new three-year term as WADA president, despite the tensions that broke out between the two sides over the Russian doping scandal.

This was after Reedie suggested that WADA will refrain in the future from publicly calling for a nation to be barred from the Olympics, as the anti-doping agency did with Russia before the games in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC’s support for WADA to continue in his role came after he assured the International Olympic Committee that he would respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders.

Before Rio Olympics, WADA recommended to the IOC to exclude the entire Russian contingent. This proposal was rejected by the IOC that instead let international sports federations decide which athletes should be eligible to compete. IOC members accused WADA of failing to act sooner on Russian doping and also blamed the agency for releasing the McLaren report so close to the games. The IOC and WADA appeared to have buried the hatchet last month at an Olympic summit in Lausanne, where IOC leaders backed WADA to continue to oversee worldwide anti-doping efforts.

Reedie, a Briton who has been WADA president since 2013, is up for re-election at agency meetings in Glasgow, Scotland. No other candidate has been put forward till now. The IOC backed Reedie’s bid in a letter to all of its 98 members. This letter was sent following a private meeting of the IOC executive board on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland and Reedie briefed the board at that meeting.

The IOC letter reads that Sir Craig Reedie committed to respect the Olympic Charter and respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders, including the catalogue of points put forward by the Olympic Movement three years ago. It also stated that the IOC on this basis will encourage the Olympic Movement representatives on the WADA foundation board to approve the re-election of Sir Craig Reedie as WADA President, as well as inviting them to speak to their government counterparts concerning a reform of the system for electing the WADA President. The letter also reads that the board has agreed to a request from Reedie to match government contributions and provide $500,000 US to the agency’s special investigations fund. The IOC said this was on condition that the World Anti-Doping Agency President would provide a detailed breakdown of costs of the upcoming final report of Richard McLaren and that McLaren “actively co-operates” with two separate IOC investigations into Russian doping.

A WADA president is elected for three years under current rules and has the option of a second three-year term. The presidency rotates between representatives of governments and sporting bodies.

Reedie has been accused by critics of having a conflict of interest in his IOC and WADA roles. Reedie was an IOC vice-president and member of the rule-making executive board until the Rio Games but he is now a regular IOC member without a policy-making role after expiry of his term as vice-president and board member.

Reedie Backed By IOC For New 3-Year WADA Term

Sunday 09, Oct 2016

  Anti-Doping System ‘Not Broken’, Says Athlete Commission Head

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Beckie Scott, the head of WADA’s athlete commission, has contended that the global anti-doping system is not “broken”. The former Olympic cross-country skier from Canada lamented that politics surrounding the Russian doping scandal has sown “discord” in the fight against performance enhancing drugs.

Scott urged all sides to put aside their differences and work together to combat an undeniable threat to the integrity of sport today. In an op-ed released by the Montreal-based agency, Beckie Scott, who chairs the World Anti-Doping Agency athlete committee, said the World Anti-Doping Agency has come under intense criticism and scrutiny in the wake of the allegations of state-backed doping in Russia. She remarked WADA has been right to successfully fulfilling their mandate and taking the necessary decisions. Beckie Scott said the “system” is not broken and said a “broken” system would not have exposed systematic and state-controlled doping in Russia.

WADA has been criticized by several IOC members who accused the agency of failing to act sooner on the Russian doping problems. These IOC members also criticized the anti-doping agency for releasing report by investigator Richard McLaren on systematic Russian doping just weeks before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The McLaren report led WADA to call for the exclusion of the entire Russian team from the Rio Games. The recommendation of WADA was rejected by the IOC and the Olympic body instead asked individual sports federations to determine which Russian athletes could compete.

Scott said it is unacceptable that there is a sense of discord when there should be harmony when it comes to clean, fair sport. The head of WADA’s athlete commission also remarked almost every day someone new from the Olympic family takes to the media with the critical claim that the global anti-doping system is broken. Highly critical assessments of WADA have been issued by International Olympic Committee members Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., Sergei Bubka and Gerardo Werthein in recent weeks. Scott said cynicism alone will not win the fight and added the issue has become so deeply divisive and conflicted among stakeholders that it seems athletes have another competitor in the ring — politics. Scott also added we have to be solution focused and can no longer afford to become subject to the politics, conflicted interests and game-playing that has held us back for so long and added WADA needs better funding for clean, legitimate sport.

In another development, Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping agency, said separating the anti-doping efforts from sports organizations would be an important step forward. Tygart remarked removal of the fox guarding the henhouse has been one of the principles we’ve been talking about for years. The USADA chief added sport leaders are concerned with marketability and the brand and then what happens is the status quo prevails until there is a scandal that harms and taints the brand and only then do they react to clean it up.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will convene a summit in Switzerland to address the ongoing Russian doping crisis. There is a possibility that the IOC can be separated further from the testing process; it currently runs the lab at the Games. The role of WADA will also likely be discussed as some IOC members have floated the concept of creating a new organization to oversee anti-doping testing and enforcement.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Anti-Doping System ‘Not Broken’, Says Athlete Commission Head

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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: WADA Exceeded Power While Compiling Mclaren Report, Says FINA President

Tuesday 22, Dec 2015

  Top IAAF Official Denies Trying To Cover Up Russian Doping

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A leading official of the International Association of Athletics Federations has denied allegations that he assisted to cover up Russian doping allegations two years ago.

On Monday, French newspaper Le Monde printed a potentially damning email that was sent by Nick Davies, the deputy general secretary of the International Association of Athletics Associations, in 2013. This email was sent to Papa Massata Diack – the son of disgraced former president Lamine Diack and it appeared that Davies was aware that the world governing body of athletics was covering up Russian doping.

In the email, Davies, who was appointed as right-hand man to IAAF president Lord Coe this autumn, allegedly discusses the presence of “Russian skeletons in the cupboard”. The email also had Davies talking about how to reveal names of potential dopers without affecting the forthcoming 2013 World Championships in Moscow. The email, which was allegedly sent by Davies, revealed he had already had some thoughts following discussion with Papa Massata Diack earlier and believed that they need to do the following, in the strict confidence and control within a small circle of senior IAAF staff only and this must be very secret. Davies is also alleged to have written that he needs to be able to sit down with the anti-doping department and understand exactly what Russian ‘skeletons’ we have still in the cupboard regarding doping.

The email continued that he thinks that the time to have unveiled the various athletes was a long time ago and that now we need to be smart. It was further added that we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of the reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot. This email also appeared to show that the right-hand man to IAAF president Lord Coe suggesting the use of a sports marketing firm chaired by Sebastian Coe (CSM) for dealing with negative stories in the build-up to the 2013 World Championships.

Replying to the alleged email content, Davies said it was one of his responsibilities as director of IAAF communications to manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF. Davies also commented that his email to the IAAF’s then marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack, less than a month before the start of the Moscow World Championships, was brainstorming around media handling strategies to deal with the serious challenges we were facing. Davies also said that no plan was implemented following that email and there is no possibility any media strategy could ever interfere with the conduct of the anti-doping process.

Last month, Russia was banned from international athletics after a system of state-sponsored doping was uncovered by a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission. The Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published the results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and the Russian Sports Ministry on November 9 this year. The Russian government now wants to reorganize the previously independent Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory into a federal state budget-financed institution with the Ministry of Sport to oversee its work.

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Wednesday 22, Apr 2015

  Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

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Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked that the sports doping rate of the country is no worse than in other European countries. In a rare meeting with foreign reporters, Mutko said Russia has made a “colossal” effort to catch cheats by carrying out up to 20,000 tests a year.

Mutko said Russia has made really colossal efforts in fight against doping in the last five years and Russia has done so with WADA and with international federations and added it took some countries decades to do the same. The Russian minister also said international doping investigators now have free access to all Russian athletes and Russia has a new laboratory in Moscow that matches “really top international standards”. Mutko also commented independence of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was guaranteed by law. He went on to remark that the country has 9,000 international level athletes and many of them spend 70 percent of the year abroad where they undergo checks.

On the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in Sochi, Mutko said only two percent of our athletes are being caught doping and that is really a normal indicator just as in all other European countries. The Sports Minister added we are sure that Russia is a reliable partner in anti-doping and we have done and are going to do these activities in a very tough way.

In December, a German television documentary alleged widespread doping had been covered up, especially in athletics. The sports machine of Russia is under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the documentary. Meanwhile, the IAAF has initiated proceedings against Viktor Chegin, who has trained more than 20 athletes caught for doping in recent years and heads the Russian race-walking centre in Saransk.

New Russian athletics coach Yuri Borzakovsky defended controversial race walking coach Viktor Chegin who is presently under investigation by the IAAF as part of its probe into Russian doping. Borzakovsky said Chegin will remain on the Russian team until there’s an official piece of paper saying he’s accused of something or other.

Mutko raised doubts about the tests raised in the television documentary. The Sports minister said it looks like someone has kept them hidden somewhere and then under certain circumstances they have taken them out to confront us. Mutko insisted that his country has acted “in good faith” and many athletes and coaches received life bans even if they were star performers. He also said we are ready to invite foreign experts for each step of the anti-doping procedure even for several years to end all these doubts and claims made about our country so we can cooperate in good faith.

In another development, IAAF President Lamine Diack said Russia will not be barred from major athletics competitions due to allegations of systematic doping. The IAAF ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Agency are presently investigating Russia over claims that Russian officials ran a sophisticated doping program. Diack said Russia is a great nation of athletics and compared the doping problem of Russia to the scandals in the United States in the 1990s. The IAAF President said Russia’s doping problem should be solved in a similar way with stricter enforcement by an independent agency.

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