World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Witold Bańka said Friday the global group will consider the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in December after two years of non-compliance.
Banka said the move will mark the start of a reinstatement process but comes with little trust in Russia's anti-doping program.
"Trust in Russia's anti-doping system is still very low," Banka said. "They have a lot of work to do to rebuild that trust. RUSADA remains non-compliant.
"The process for reinstatement does not end on 17 December –- in fact, the process only starts on that date."
WADA banned Russia from major sports events for four years in 2019 after finding doping data handed over from its Moscow laboratory had been manipulated.
That data was supposed to be provided as part of RUSADA's reinstatement in the wake of the massive doping and corruption scandal in which the McLaren investigation found evidence of state-sponsored Russian doping between 2011 and 2015.
Russia appealed the 2019 punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and CAS reduced the punishment, allowing athletes to compete but ordering a two-year span without the Russian name, flag or anthem to be used at events.
WADA has monitored progress by RUSADA toward satisfying conditions of reinstatement set down in the CAS decision and said Friday it plans a three-phase process regarding reinstatement.
"Of course we are not naive and when you look at the past, it's obvious that what they've done, it was a crime on clean sport," Banka said.
First, WADA management will asses whether or not RUSADA has met all reinstatement conditions.
When that mark has been met, WADA management will refer to matter for the independent Compliance Review Committee to consider.
Should the committee and WADA management agree that reinstatement conditions have been met, only then will a recommendation for reinstatement be made to the WADA executive committee to consider.
"Through the three phases of that process, compliance will be robustly assessed," Banka said. "We will need to verify each and every one of the reinstatement conditions. Verify means verify –- not simply accepting anyone's word for it.
"We also continue to support the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to prevent the participation of Russia on the international sporting scene."
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began last February has also prompted some sports organizations to impose restrictions upon Russian athletes and those from Belarus, which has supported the action.
WADA continues to examine data and samples retrieved from a Moscow laboratory in 2019 and cases resulting from such study continue.
WADA executives were told that 28 convictions from such cases had been made since the prior report in July, bringing the total to 166 so far with more to come.