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WADA to review Russian doping data

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it has received responses from Russian authorities to questions raised over data "discrepancies” at an anti-doping center.

WASHINGTON (AN) — The World Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday it has received responses from Russian authorities to questions raised over data "discrepancies” at an anti-doping center and expects to complete a review by the end of next month.

Montréal-based WADA opened a formal compliance procedure against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on September 17 and gave it three weeks to provide responses, which have been received.

The responses were being assessed by WADA and independent forensic experts, who will report their findings to an independent compliance review committee. Details of the responses were not released.

After reviewing the findings, the committee will "decide whether to bring a formal recommendation of non-compliance and proposed consequences" against Russia's anti-doping agency, WADA said in a statement.

If that process is completed by the end of next month, WADA's executive committee could rule in the case by the end of the year. That means a decision will not be reached, as originally planned, to coincide with WADA's executive committee meeting and World Conference on Doping in Sport next week in Katowice, Poland.

The Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, was handed a three-year ban in 2015 for aiding a massive government-sponsored doping program that was in use during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. RUSADA was reinstated in 2018 on condition that WADA inspectors gain access to a Moscow laboratory.

But after WADA inspectors were denied access to data from that laboratory as part of their investigation, Russia's anti-doping agency was at risk of being suspended again.

Data 'discrepancies'

Data received from the laboratory last January contained numerous discrepancies, prompting a referral to WADA’s intelligence and investigations department.

In September, WADA's inspectors identified 47 cases in which "evidentiary packages" were sent to international sports federations, resulting in the start of several disciplinary proceedings based on that evidence. WADA also said it was "using the remaining data from the Moscow laboratory and other forms of evidence to bring more cheats to justice continues."

Now, WADA said it could not commit to a fixed timeline for further action "given the highly technical nature of this investigation and the volume of complex material being assessed."

The international organization, however, said it hoped to resolve the case before its president, Sir Craig Reedie, steps down from his post at the end of the year. Reedie, a Scottish sports administrator and former chair of the British Olympic Association, has been involved with WADA since its creation in 1999. He was elected its third president in November 2013 and re-elected to a second three-year term in November 2016.

Governments help in the fight against doping in sport by facilitating controls and supporting national testing programs. Many governments cannot be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the World Anti-Doping Code, according to WADA, but they have signed onto the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport, signaling their intention to sign an international treaty.

That treaty — the International Convention against Doping in Sport, the first such global accord against doping in sport — took effect in 2007, after 30 nations had ratified it. It was drafted under the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations' agency responsible for education, science, and culture.

The seventh session of the Conference of Parties to that convention, a biennial gathering since 2007, was being held at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris this week.