Amid Harsh Criticism, WADA Reinstates Russian Anti-Doping Agency

The World Anti-Doping Agency removed the ban on Russia’s anti-doping agency on Thursday, setting off a wave of criticism in the athletic community. The ban was enacted in 2015 after reports of widespread state-sponsored doping.

“Today, the great majority of WADA’s ExCo members decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the Code subject to strict conditions, upon recommendation by the Agency’s independent CRC and in accordance with an agreed process,” said WADA President Craig Reedie. 

“This decision provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples with a clear commitment by the ExCo that should this timeline not be met, the ExCo would support the CRC’s recommendation to reinstate non-compliance.”

The Executive Committee voted 9-2 in favor of reinstatement. 

The decision, which first leaked last week, has been widely denounced, with opponents arguing that Russia has not followed the “Roadmap” developed by WADA in 2015. 

“WADA’s decision reinstate Russia despite the nation not having met the two remaining Roadmap conditions is bewildering and inexplicable. In its landmark meeting today, WADA sent one clear message to the world: we put the wishes of a small handful of sports administrators above the rights of millions of clean athletes and the dreams of billions of sports fans,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Beckie Scott, a member of WADA’s compliance review committee, resigned from the position after the group decided to reinstate Rusada. The IAAF’s Athletes’ Commission published a letter on Wednesday arguing against reinstatement. 

“We recognise that Russian sport has taken significant steps forward on the road to compliance; however, given the severity of Russia’s egregious violations to the integrity of sport, the conditions in the Roadmap are appropriate, proportionate and more importantly, grounded on principles of transparency and integrity,” the letter said

Russia remains banned by the IAAF, though the compliance of Rusada was one of the criteria the governing body put in place for the nation to be reinstated. Select Russian athletes have been able to compete at global championships during the ban as "authorized neutral athletes."

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