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WADA recommend Russia be banned from 2018 Winter Olympics

South Korean is busy preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics
Image: South Korean is busy preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are recommending that Russia be banned from sending a team to next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

WADA have said Russia's anti-doping body remain non-compliant with international code, and are urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban the country from next year's Games in PyeongChang.

The foundation board of WADA have approved the recommendation, by their independent compliance review committee, to leave RUSADA's non-compliant status as unchanged. They confirmed their decision via a tweet.

Attention turns to the IOC who must now make a decision on whether to bar Russia from the PyeongChang Games. Their next executive board meeting takes place on December 5th.

Reports have suggested Russia refused to admit it ran a state-sponsored doping programme, or that it failed to allow access to samples stored in Moscow's anti-doping laboratory.

These were the two main items on WADA's 'roadmap regarding compliance by RUSADA'.

The Russian drug-testing body was suspended in November 2015, following an investigation into allegations of cheating in Russian athletics.

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WADA president Craig Reedie reveals why the agency recommends Russia be banned from the 2018 Games

Russia avoided a blanket ban from last year's summer Games in Rio. However, the completion of a second investigation into Russian doping in December, by Canadian professor Richard McLaren, found evidence of a conspiracy that involved around 1,000 athletes from 30 sports, and culminated at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The IOC has set up two commissions to assess McLaren's evidence, one focusing on individual athletes, the other regarding the role of the state.

Earlier this year, WADA agreed the Russian agency had fulfilled 19 obligations in the first half of a two-stage process, in their bid to be declared compliant.

Progress was achieved on items such as training new staff under supervision, setting up a new supervisory board and opening up access to a number of Russia's industrial and military cities for foreign drug-testers.

This picture taken on September 27, 2017 shows the Alpensia resort through a glass railing showing the logo of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in Pyeo
Image: The Winter Games will be at PyeongChang in South Korea. But will Russia be attending?

However, they were made aware that full compliance would not be declared until 12 more criteria was met.

Following the Foundation Board meeting in Seoul, WADA president Craig Reedie said: "We do not have the right to decide who takes part in international competition.

"The major event-holder has that right. We regret that RUSADA is not yet compliant. Technically, they have improved hugely since compliance was removed.

"But having set a road map for compliance, there are two issues that have to be fulfilled and we can't walk away from the commitments we have from that road map."

Thursday's decision to declare RUSADA as still non-compliant, puts pressure on IOC president Thomas Bach.

Russian president Vladimir Putin recently described calls, for an Olympic ban, as being a western conspiracy designed to destabilise the country before March's national elections.

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