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Russia in the shadow of the World Conference on Doping


Russia in the shadow of the World Conference on Doping

Katowice (Poland) (AFP)

Twenty years after its birth, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) brings together all its partners from Tuesday to Thursday in Katowice, Poland, for its fifth World Conference. The opportunity to adopt a new code and elect its next president. But the Russian affair will be in everyone's head.

- Russia in the shadows -

The burning issue of new sanctions against Russia is not on the agenda of WADA's executive committees on Monday and Thursday. This case, which has poisoned global anti-doping for the last five years, was reopened on 17 September due to suspicions of manipulation of the electronic data from the controls of the former Moscow laboratory, handed over to WADA's investigation department in early 2019. . The procedure rekindles the specter of severe sanctions, such as a non-participation in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, against Russia, already guilty of having set up an institutional doping system between 2011 and 2015, according to the Agency's investigations anti-doping world.

The file is still in progress and WADA hopes to reach a decision by the end of the year at a future Executive Committee. The case of Russia has not settled since the boss of Microsoft revealed last week that Russian hackers, the Fancy Bears, had tried to attack the computer systems of several anti-doping agencies. What strengthen the supporters of a hard line against Moscow.

- Relaxations expected in the new code for "social drugs" -

Among the novelties of the next World Anti-Doping Code, to be adopted Thursday, more flexibility possible in case of positive control of so-called "social" drugs, such as cocaine or cannabis. When it is shown that the substances were taken out of competition and without a sporting performance objective, the suspension can be only three months, or even a month if the athlete agrees to undergo a detoxification program. Currently, the use of cocaine is theoretically punished by 4 years of suspension, like any other prohibited substance, but in fact penalties often lighter apply, as for the Peruvian football star Paolo Guerrero ( 14 months suspension in May 2018)

This change is likely to be controversial among those for whom anti-doping for a mission to protect public health. For the director general of the AMA, Olivier Niggli, this relaxation remains framed. "Our role is anti-doping, so it has to do with sport, the protection of health falls to the States more than us," he told AFP.

- A new president elected at home -

Barring a big surprise, the current Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism, Witold Banka, will be elected as the new president of WADA on Thursday. He will succeed Britain's Craig Reedie, who came from the ranks of the Olympic movement, and passes his hand at 78 after two terms marked by the institutional doping crisis in Russia.

This is the last time that the principle of the rotating presidency between the two pillars of the WADA (Olympic Movement and States) applies, the agency having adopted the principle of an independent presidency from 2022, to mitigate the reproaches of political interference or the sports movement in its operation.

Former athlete, 35, Witold Banka, who was already a member of WADA's executive committee, was elected on a line of continuity, promising to maintain good relations between states and the sports movement. He had distinguished himself from his main competitor, the Norwegian Minister Linda Helleland, who had promised to be much more firm with the Olympic movement, accused of indulgence towards the Russians. He will take office on 1 January 2020 and is expected to leave the Polish government.

© 2019 AFP

Source: france24

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