WADA panel calls for ban on Russia

WADA panel calls for ban on Russia

WADA panel calls for ban on Russia

Russia's athletics federation should be suspended from all competition, including the 2016 Olympic Games, over widespread doping, a damning report by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Monday.

The report outlined evidence of systematic cheating with the consent of the government in Moscow, noting that drug tests for athletes were conducted at a Russian lab which totally lacked credibility.

"It's pretty disturbing", said former WADA chief Richard Pound, who headed the three-man commission, adding that the extent of the cheating was "worse than we thought."

The panel's findings called for athletics' governing body (IAAF) to suspend Russia's athletics body (ARAF) and declare it "non-compliant" with globally agreed doping regulations.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said he would give Russia until Friday to respond to the scathing report. "I want an explanation," Coe said on a conference call. "I am completely shocked by the allegations."

"My instinct remains to encourage engagement not isolation, but the extent of what's being said, I need to seek (IAAF) council support to have them (ARAF) report back by the end of the week."

The IAAF Council are due to meet Friday to discuss the crisis facing the Olympic's flagship sport. In their initial reactions to commission's bombshell findings, Russian officials offered conflicting messages.

Sports minister Vitali Mutko pledged Moscow "will certainly fulfil" any recommendations that emerge from the IAAF or WADA following the report. But separately, the head of the country's anti-doping agency, Nikita Kamayev called the report "groundless" and dismissed evidence that officials had destroyed test samples and accepted bribes from athletes.

WADA's commission also called for five Russian athletes -- including 800M Olympic winner Mariya Savinova -- to be given lifetime bans, suggesting the presence of doped athletes had "sabotaged" the 2012 Games in London.

The Moscow anti-doping laboratory needed to be stripped of its accreditation and its director fired, the commission further said. Pound told journalists that given the extent of the cheating among Russian track athletes, the doping was state-supported and "could not have happened" without tacit approval of authorities in Moscow.

When asked about possible next steps from Moscow, Pound suggested that the rot within the country's track programme was so severe, he hoped that Moscow would "volunteer" to remove its athletes from the Rio Games.

He also voiced hope that Russia would "take the lead in fixing a problem that could...destroy" athletics.

Pressed on the consequences of inaction, especially if tainted Russian athletes compete in Rio, Pound insisted that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would step in. "The IOC is not going to sell out athletes that need to be protected" from those who dope, said Pound, a former IOC vice president.

The IOC, meanwhile, described the findings as deeply shocking and saddening.  Looking ahead to Rio next year the IOC said: "With regard to the Olympic Games, the IOC will continue to take whatever measures needed to safeguard clean athletes, clean sport and good governance.

 "If any infringements on the anti-doping rules by athletes and or their entourage should be established, the IOC will react with its usual zero tolerance policy."

The crisis which has shaken world athletics first erupted with allegations of doping aired in a German TV documentary in December 2014. Pound said that "overwhelming portions" of the programme had been proven accurate.

He made clear, however, that Monday's release included only the first part of the commission's report, which focused on Russian athletics. Further evidence of misconduct, including potentially among "rogue" individuals within the IAAF, is expected by the end of the year, Pound said.

 December 2014
1: German state broadcaster ARD airs "Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia produces its Winners" - a damning 60-minute documentary alleging systematic state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics.

2: International Olympics Committee calls for investigation into doping claims.

3: Russian athletics chief and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, and IAAF marketing consultant Pape Massata Diack, son of the then IAAF president Lamine Diack, step down while corruption and doping allegations are investigated by IAAF's ethics commission.

4: World-Anti-Doping-Agency (WADA) sets up three-person independent commission to investigate claims headed by its former chief, Dick Pound.

August 2015
1: ARD airs second documentary "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics" - featuring new accusations aimed at Russian and Kenyan athletes. ARD and The Sunday Times said they were leaked a database belonging to athletics' governing body with details of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 competitors which revealed "extraordinary" levels of doping. IAAF accused of failing to follow up suspicious tests by hundreds of athletes including world champions and Olympic medal winners.

2: WADA president Craig Reedie says fresh accusations would "shake the foundation" of athletes trying to be clean.

3: New doping claims "a declaration of war" on the sport - IAAF presidential candidate and British track legend Sebastian Coe

4: Coe elected to succeed Diack as IAAF president

November 2015
1: French police in Paris charge Diack with corruption on suspicion the 82-year-old Senegalese accepted bribes to cover up doping cases. Diack also charged with money laundering and conspiracy. His legal advisor Habib Cisse and former IAAF anti-doping doctor Gabriel Dolle charged with corruption.

2: IAAF cancels annual awards gala, with Coe explaining: "Given the cloud that hangs over our association this is clearly not the time for the global athletics family to be gathering in celebration of our sport."

IAAF opens disciplinary proceedings against Pape Massata Diack, Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov, former chief coach of Russia's long distance walkers and runners, and Dolle.

3: Two days before WADA report is published co-author Richard McLaren says  the scandal is "worse than FIFA".

5: WADA publishes its report into the scandal. calling on Russian athletes to be banned from all competition.

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