June 24, 2017, 8:18 am
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Anti-dope body seeks blanket Russia ban

LONDON — The Association of National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) on Tuesday 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 Tuesday’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.

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.

More than 100 Russian athletes were barred from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics after the International Olympic Committee set criteria for Russian athletes to meet, including a cleandoping past and sufficient testing at international events.

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.

Russia has already been stripped of the right to host next year’s bobsleigh world championships in Sochi in March and a speed skating event scheduled for Chelyabinsk in the same month by the governing bodies of the respective sports.

“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-dopingback 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 instil some urgency.

Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), shared De Pencier’s frustration at a lack of visible progress.

“We certainly haven’t seen it and by all public statements they can’t even admit that they admitted there was institutional doping happening in their country,” Tygart told Reuters. – Reuters
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