"Nothing supernatural happened"

The completion of the proceedings of the World Anti-Doping Agency against 298 Russian athletes became known on the evening of April 30. According to WADA President Vitold Banka, the agency’s investigation department studied thousands of athlete samples from 28 organizations and a total of 24 terabytes of data.

“As evidence on the basis of which the target group was determined, we used the information obtained by the WADA investigation department from the database of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the results of the Richard McLaren investigation conducted in 2016 by order of WADA, as well as the extracted samples,” the release said.

The organization decided that 145 athletes were subjected to possible manipulations - almost 50% of the total. WADA claims have not yet arisen for 153 athletes.

Also, during the reanalysis of samples from the Moscow laboratory, 57 suspicious cases were identified "that are at the stage of managing the results." No decisions have been made on them yet.

“This is in addition to dozens of already initiated proceedings and procedures that were launched by international sports federations on the basis of evidence revealed during the“ Operation LIMS ”in weightlifting and athletics, biathlon. As well as other violations in various sports identified during the investigation of the Pound and McLaren commissions conducted from 2014 to 2016 by order of WADA, ”said Banka.

Upon completion of the investigation, WADA sent cases for all 298 athletes to the anti-doping organizations of 27 international federations, as well as one organizing committee that conducts a major competition. What sports are in question, not reported.

“Different evidence is available for each case, and the relevant organizations will have to decide in each case whether it is considered a violation of anti-doping rules or not. WADA will analyze and discuss the facts with each anti-doping organization, as well as consider their decisions and, if necessary, appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, ”the release said.

The agency added that if the decision is not made “within a reasonable time”, WADA has the right to transfer cases directly to the CAS in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

“The fact that we switched to processing the results for the entire target group means that we are one step closer to holding scammers accountable. This has been and remains our goal, and we continue to work for the benefit of pure sports and athletes around the world, ”said Gunter Younger, head of the WADA investigation department.

In turn, Banca called the ongoing investigation "the most difficult in the history of the fight against doping."

“Over the past five years, the Russian doping crisis has been spent most of the time and resources of WADA, and all this time the agency’s investigators have remained at the forefront. I would like to thank them for their diligence, professionalism and experience. We handed over the cases to various organizations, ”said the functionary.

At the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), what happened was not surprising, although the organization’s director general, Yuri Ganus, said the number of violations was “astounding”. At the same time, he made a reservation that 70 anti-doping cases were recorded in Chuvashia alone.

“Here, the relative number of cases is the figure that WADA has announced long ago, and the procedure for transferring them to international federations is traditional and predictable. Moreover, I can say that we carried out the processing of a certain part of these cases because we nevertheless maintained confidence as an independent agency, ”the TASS official quotes.

“On the whole, we can say that nothing supernatural has happened. The number of cases is sad, but in reality I would like to quickly turn the page. And finish the bone washing that was before, so that the sport could breathe clean air. And now we constantly poison our jurisdiction with carbon dioxide, ”added Ganus.

In turn, his deputy Margarita Pakhnotskaya emphasized that RUSADA is “in full contact” with WADA, and the transfer of cases is currently underway.

Discrepancies in the database and deprivation of compliance status by RUSADA  

WADA began the process of depriving RUSADA of compliance status in September 2019. Then Russia was given three weeks to explain the discrepancies found in the database of the Moscow laboratory. Jonathan Taylor, head of the compliance committee, said positive samples were removed from her.

In early October, the Ministry of Sports provided explanations. Former department head Pavel Kolobkov assured that there were no manipulations with the database.

“Experts believe that there were no deletions there, these are technical issues, they are related to the system. At the next meeting of specialists from Russia and WADA, these issues can be clarified. The so-called, as Yuri Ganus says, there were no manipulations there. This is our position, ”TASS quoted Kolobkov as saying.

As a result, the decision on Russia was made on December 9 and turned out to be as severe as possible. The WADA Executive Committee supported the recommendation of the Compliance Committee to strip RUSADA of compliance status for four years. For this period, domestic athletes were banned from participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as in world championships. In addition, the country was deprived of the right to host major international tournaments.

However, RUSADA did not agree with the verdict of a higher organization and filed a lawsuit in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, hearings at CAS were postponed.

“This story has been postponed due to coronavirus. OCD will uphold the inconsistency of sanctions proposed by the WADA Executive Committee. For us, the priority is the right of Russian athletes, along with all participants in the Olympic movement, to fly under their national flag and have equal access to participate in the Olympic Games, ”said Stanislav Pozdnyakov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (OCD).