LAUSANNE | Giant of world sport accused of a cascade of cheating and institutionalized doping, Russia was excluded for two years from major international competitions, including two editions of the Olympic Games, a sentence Thursday of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
• Read also: The main dates of the Russian doping scandal
However, it will be able to return to the Paris Games in 2024, contrary to what WADA claimed, which had suspended Russia for four years.
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After four days of closed hearing at the beginning of November, the three arbitrators appointed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne delivered their award of over 180 pages, a decision unprecedented in the history of sports justice.
The stakes were high for Russian athletes. In Tokyo (2021, Summer Games), and Beijing (2022, Winter Games), only those who will be able to compete, under a neutral banner, will demonstrate their absence of recourse to doping.
Founded in 1999 in the wake of the Festina scandal, WADA had deployed unprecedented investigative efforts, and was playing its credibility at a time when the United States threatened to cut its food and have just passed a law allowing them to carry out their own world crusade against doping.
Finally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the federations awaited clear directives from the CAS, seven months before the Tokyo Olympics, in order to avoid the mess of recent years in the Russian file.
Just before the Rio Games in 2016, WADA had recommended an exclusion of Russian athletes refused by the IOC, while a few days before the opening of the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, the CAS had cleared 28 Russian athletes suspended from life by the IOC.
But the legal framework is clear this time, since it was a question of validating or not the panoply of sanctions proposed in December 2019 by WADA and refused by the Russian anti-doping agency, Rusada, because of the rigging of the computer files of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory for the period 2011-2015.
In their report consulted by AFP, the Montreal sleuths establish two types of manipulation: the removal of traces of positive doping controls, and the introduction of false exchanges aimed at compromising Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of the refugee laboratory in the United States. United and became WADA’s main informant, along with two of his deputies.
The anti-doping gendarme therefore drew from the “ISCCS”, a text in force since April 2018 which authorizes it to crack down in all directions, with an objective, to ban the Russian flag for four years from major sporting events and to ban the country from organize some on his floor.
And if this computer fraud has so exasperated WADA, it is because the Russian litigation has been going on since 2010, involves the secret services and the Russian Ministry of Sports, and has fueled tensions between Moscow and sports bodies perceived as instruments. of Western domination.
“We prevent, by means that are not very sporty, our athletes from achieving the success they deserve,” said Vladimir Poutine in October.
Ten years ago, Russian middle-distance runner Yuliya Stepanova and her husband Vitaly, ex-controller of Rusada, alerted WADA to institutionalized doping in Russia, then ended up turning to the German channel ARD, which had broadcast from December 2014 a series of damning documentaries.
The scandal had turned into a spy novel when Grigory Rodchenkov, forced to resign from the Moscow laboratory and a refugee in the United States, admitted in spring 2016 to having orchestrated for years the cover-up of Russian doping in coordination with the Ministry of Sports, then headed by Vitaly Mutko, a close friend of Vladimir Poutine.
To mislead WADA observers at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the scientist explained, his team was stealing urine bottles from Russian athletes through a “mouse hole” leading to a member of the FSB, the Russian secret service.
The spy, disguised as a cleaner, unsealed the supposedly tamper-proof cap with a bent surgeon’s tool for the occasion, then replaced the contents with “clean” urine stored beforehand.
Russia satisfied that Russian athletes are not “collectively” banned from the Olympics
The Russian Olympic Committee said Thursday it was satisfied that Russian athletes were not “collectively” banned from the Olympic Games.
“The main result of our joint work (…) is that the CAS did not support WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency, editor’s note) in the adoption of collective responsibility and did not add additional criteria in the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic, Paralympic and world championships, ”said the president of the Russian Olympic committee, Stanislav Pozdniakov, at a press conference.
For his part, the head of the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) Mikhail Boukhanov hailed as “a victory for Russia” the decision not to sanction clean Russian athletes.