Russia's Anti-Doping Agency again on verge of suspension after WADA denied access to lab
Last Updated: 21/12/18 10:00pm
Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is again on the verge of suspension after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspection team visiting a Moscow laboratory was denied access to raw data to complete its full reinstatement.
The five-member WADA team had spent a week in Russia but returned home frustrated without having retrieved any of the data in Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) it had been promised access to.
Russian authorities maintained that the inspection team's equipment to be used for the data extraction had not been certified under Russian law.
Access to the lab and data was a condition of WADA's September decision to reinstate RUSADA.
The inspection team will now prepare a formal report which will be sent to the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). The CRC will meet on Jan 14-15 when RUSADA's code compliance status will again be considered.
The CRC's recommendation will then be considered by the WADA executive committee.
WADA had set a December 31 deadline for RUSADA to meet the condition or once again be found non-compliant and face even tougher sanctions laid out in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories.
RUSADA was suspended in 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report outlined evidence of massive state-backed, systematic doping in Russian athletics, allegations Moscow has denied.
Russian authorities downplayed the latest crisis with Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov describing the problems in a TASS report as "technical issues".
Kolobkov added: "The experts are satisfied with the visit," and said there were plans for a follow-up visit to the lab.
WADA said there were no more visits planned but that the team of experts would remain on standby ready to proceed with full data extraction should the matter be resolved.
The good faith displayed in conditionally reinstating RUSADA on the guarantee it would meet all requirements appears to have blown up in WADA's face.
WADA came under scathing criticism from athlete and global anti-doping groups when it approved RUSADA's reinstatement in September.
"Let's hope WADA doesn't get played again and immediately declares them non-compliant," United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart said after learning of WADA's unsuccessful trip.
If RUSADA is found to be non-compliant, Russian athletes could again be on the outside looking in with another Olympics approaching in Tokyo in 2020.