Anti-doping group calls for blanket ban on Russia

(Reuters) – The association of National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) yesterday called for a blanket ban on Russia from all international sport until the country can demonstrate it has installed and embraced a credible anti-doping system.

Leaders from 19 NADOs held a special summit in Dublin to discuss the fallout from the second part of Richard McLaren’s report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which last month exposed the huge scale of state-sponsored, systematic doping and cover-ups in Russia.

Following yesterday’s meeting, the organisation issued a statement listing a series of desired reforms, and although Russia was not the only nation to spark concerns, the scale of the problem there ensured it dominated the summit’s conclusions.

Vladimir Putin

These included the exclusion of Russian sports organisations from all international competition, with a uniform process for athletes to compete as neutrals, until there is substantive progress in reform efforts; the removal of all major international competitions from the country; and a moratorium on the awarding of new competitions to Russia.

Russia’s athletics ban has continued into 2017 and may include the August world championships after a Task Force monitoring the nation’s anti-doping programme refused last month to put any dates on a “road map” for a return.

“The second part of the McLaren report included an appalling set of evidence exposing a systematic problem (in Russia) that hasn’t been fully addressed,” NADOs CEO Joseph de Pencier told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“There needs to be a sweeping package of reform and until we have some centralised anti-doping back in Russia we can’t be confident.

“The road map is pretty clear but at the moment there is still denial, there has been no contrition.”

De Pencier said it would take “maybe a couple of years” for a credible anti-doping system to be put in place but hoped the prospect of Russia potentially missing out on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 13 months’ time would instill some urgency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin  has said  that there were some problems with sports doping in Russia but there was no state-sponsored doping system as critics had alleged.

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