Russia risks new ban after WADA panel ruling

RUSADA (Russia's anti-doping agency) chief Yury Ganus at a press conference in January 2019

Russia faces a new international sporting ban after a key World Anti-Doping Agency panel recommended the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be declared non-compliant, a statement said Friday.

WADA said its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) had recommended that RUSADA be suspended again when the global anti-doping watchdog's Executive Committee meets in Paris on December 9.

If the WADA leadership adopts the recommendation, Russia faces fresh sanctions including a likely ban from next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

The CRC issued its recommendation after asking Russia to explain "inconsistencies" in laboratory data handed over by Moscow to WADA investigators in January.

Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia's reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.

RUSADA had been suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations including a systematic conspiracy to switch tainted samples at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

WADA had previously warned Russia would face the "most stringent sanctions" if any of the data handed over was found to have been tampered with.

In an interview with AFP last month, RUSADA's chief Yuri Ganus said he expected Russia to receive a lengthy Olympic ban, blasting Moscow authorities who he accused of handing over falsified lab data.

"Russia's Olympic squad will be prevented from participating fully in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.... I think that this will also happen at the (Winter Olympic) Games in China," Ganus told AFP.

Ganus said he expected a range of other penalties too, including restrictions on holding international tournaments in Russia, exclusion of Russians from international sports federations and fines.

Ganus later said RUSADA officials had not been responsible for falsifying the data, insisting his staff "had nothing to do with the database and its transfer."

He instead blamed "forces outside RUSADA" for the incomplete data.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov earlier this month denied allegations that the data had been tampered with.

Kolobkov said Russian experts "consider nothing was removed" from the material handed over to WADA.

Addressing Ganus's claims directly, Kolobkov added: "There was not any manipulation as the head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, Yuri Ganus, says. That's our position."