Russian Grand Prix promoters 'confident' race will go ahead despite sporting ban

Tanya Simon
December 10, 2019

Russian Federation was banned from the world's top sporting events for four years on Monday, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with doping tests.

In a statement it said WADA, "it is simply a lapdog of the International Olympic Committee". "I said immediately that I'm on the side of Wada".

Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but only as neutrals and if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged sports organizations to appeal and said WADA's ruling was "a continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria which has already become chronic".

This follows as a result of the allegations of a state-run doping program involving Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The ban does not affect Euro 2020 (where St Petersburg is a host city), as UEFA is not defined as a "major event organisation".

The ban also means that Russian sportsmen and sportswomen will not be able to perform at the Olympics in Tokyo next year under their own flag and national anthem.

One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated past year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data.

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WADA's four year ban is a harsh rebuttal to Russia's misinformation tactics and the most severe yet handed down in the long-running doping saga, but some officials said it did not go far enough - because many Russian athletes would be able to compete as individuals at the Olympics.

The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation.

WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee agreed that evidence showed Russian authorities corrupted data from the Moscow lab that was long sealed by security forces.

Although the IOC has called for the strongest possible sanctions, it wants those sanctions directed at Russian state authorities rather than athletes or Olympic officials.

There are many who don't think so, including the majority of the World Anti-Doping Agency's athletes committee, who wanted a blanket ban. Should Russia be allowed to take part in both events-which both fall under UEFA's jurisdiction-it could find itself in a position to qualify for a tournament it is now banned from.

Kolobkov added it was too early to speak about sanctions against Russian athletes as Russia will challenge the decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"The FIVB will not comment on the RUSADA compliance situation until the full legal process, including all appeals, has concluded", the FIVB-the global volleyball federation-told Newsweek in an emailed statement.

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