Russia warned to share Moscow laboratory database with Wada or face continued ban from athletics
The World Anti-Doping Agency [Wada] has warned Russia's national anti-doping agency it will once again be declared non-compliant if it misses a strict deadline to pass on data from its Moscow laboratory.
The ban, which has been in place since the extent of Russia's systematic cheating was exposed in 2015, will almost certainly be revoked when Wada's executive committee meet in the Seychelles on Thursday.
But in a statement issued late on Saturday, which Wada said aimed to "clarify misinformation" regarding its Compliance Review Committee's impending decision, Wada made clear the episode could be far from over.
The statement read: "If the CRC's recommendation is approved by the Wada ExCo on 20 September, Rusada [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] will be declared compliant.
"However, for the avoidance of doubt, the second condition demands that Wada receives a copy of t he former Moscow Laboratory's database and the raw data via an independent expert within a strict time limit to be determined by the ExCo.
"If this is not met in full, then the CRC will recommend to the ExCo that Rusada is, once again, declared non-compliant."
Wada is facing criticism over the CRC's decision-making process, with a series of leaked documents l eading to speculation over the precise conditions incumbent to the controversial deal.
In a letter from Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov to Wada president Sir Craig Reedie, seen by Press Association, it is confirmed that Wada agreed to drop the key requirement that Russia "publicly accepts" the existence of "state-sponsored" doping.
This letter was sent on Thursday, the day before Wada revealed that its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) has reversed its previous stance and is now recommending the lifting of the suspension on Rusada.
United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) chief executive Travis Tygart spoke for many athletes and anti-doping experts when he said Wada's willingness to bend to Russia's will on the two remaining criteria on an agreed 'roadmap to compliance' "stinks to high heaven".
In his letter to Reedie, Kolobkov writes: "To move forward to reinstate the compliance of Rusada, I agree to accept the two remaining conditions in the roadmap that were referred to in your letter of June 22, 2018, and subsequent discussions."
This relates to a compromise formula Wada proposed to break a year-long deadlock on the roadmap.
Instead of the roadmap's requirement for the "responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia to publicly accept the reported outcomes" of the 2016 Wada -sponsored investigation led by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, Russia would be allowed to accept the findings of a 2017 International Olympic Committee investigation led by Swiss politician Samuel Schmid.
The Russian authorities prefer the latter as it enables them to blame the scandal on a few rotten apples, as opposed to something that was ordered from the top or, as Schmid put it, "a number of individuals with the Ministry of Sport and its subordinated entities who were involved in the scheme".
The roadmap also says this public acceptance should come from Rusada, the Ministry of Sport and the National Olympic Committee.
Kolobkov's letter simply says "the Russian Federation fully accepted" the IOC 039;s decision to force Russia to send a neutral team to this year's Winter Olympics "that was based on the findings of the Schmid report" - clearly implying that Russia believes it has already complied with the acceptance clause.
The clarification of Wada 's insistence upon receipt of the Moscow laboratory database also appears to be a watering-down of the criterion contained in the 2017 roadmap, which called for access to stored urine samples.
Meanwhile, Kolobkov adds that if potential anti-doping offences a re identified, "we will work in a spirit of co-operation" with Wada and the criminal investigation to enable independent re-testing of the samples.
This last point is hugely significant, as the Russians are trying to tie any future cases to positive tests when it is highly likely that most of the samples in the lab's freezers contain clean urine that has already been swapped for athletes' dirty samples.< p>The Russian sports minister adds: "As you can see, we have accepted your offer of June 22. I hope that Wada will perform its undertaking and reinstate the compliance of Rusada at the next meeting of the executive committee."
That would appear to be a formality but this rewriting of the roadmap to save Russia's blushes will cause fury in many quarters.
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