WADA president Sir Craig Reedie 'bitterly disappointed' after Russia misses deadline
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 01/01/19 7:15pm
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Sir Craig Reedie, says he is "bitterly disappointed" by Russia's failure to meet a December 31 deadline to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.
The deadline was set in September, when WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports.
The controversial decision was far from popular among athletes, with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) chief executive Nicole Sapstead labelling the move "deeply troubling for clean sport".
RUSADA was stripped of its accreditation in 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics.
In a WADA statement confirming Russia had missed the December 31 deadline, Reedie said: "I am bitterly disappointed that data extraction from the former Moscow Laboratory has not been completed by the date agreed by WADA's ExCo in September 2018.
"Since then, WADA has been working diligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport.
"The process agreed by WADA's ExCo in September will now be initiated."
A five-person WADA expert team, led by independent expert Dr Jose Antonio (Toni) Pascual, was sent to Russia to retrieve data from the former Moscow Laboratory but returned empty-handed.
WADA said at the time its team could not complete its mission "due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team's equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law".
With WADA waiting and the December 31 deadline looming, the director general of RUSADA Yury Ganus had asked Russian president Vladimir Putin to intervene to stave off another ban that put Russia "on the brink of the abyss".
However, the Kremlin said RUSADA's concerns about new sanctions were "without foundation."
In the wake of Russia's failure to comply with WADA's conditions, US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart has called for the ban on Russian athletes to be reinstated.
"The situation is a total joke and an embarrassment for WADA and the global anti-doping system," Tygart said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The situation is a total joke and an embarrassment for WADA and the global anti-doping system."
Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency
"In September, WADA secretly moved the goal posts and reinstated Russia against the wishes of athletes, governments and the public.
"In doing this WADA guaranteed Russia would turn over the evidence of its state-supported doping scheme by today.
"No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it's time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians and immediately declare them non-compliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline."
WADA will now refer the matter to the independent compliance review committee, which has its next meeting on January 14.
WADA has written to both Ganus and Russia's minister of sport Pavel Kolobkov to "officially notify them of the situation and to remind them of the next steps in the process".
If RUSADA is eventually declared non-compliant, Russia's athletes will again be banned from international competition. RUSADA would then have the option of taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to reach a final decision.