Moscow:The World Anti-Doping Agency, whose executive committee meets in Lausanne on Monday, is set to punish Russia’s complicity in a state-sponsored doping programme with a new four-year ban on Russian sportsmen and women.
It is likely to present more difficulties for Russian athletes wanting to compete on the world stage and for federations who are planning to stage events in a country that has often been a welcoming haven for some of the world’s less wealthy sports.
Russia would be banned for four years from the Olympic and Paralympic Summer and Winter Games. That rules an official Russian team out of Tokyo 2020 and the Beijing Winter Olympics of 2022. It would mean Russian competitors who have proved themselves above doping suspicion would have to compete under the ‘neutral’ Olympic flag. That was the case at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, when 168 Russians took part in 15 sports.
Beyond that, there would be no official Russian team at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne nor at the 2020 Summer Youth Games in Dakar.
They would also be barred from all other multi-sport competitions such as the European Games and the Universiade as well as any world championship organised by any of the signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code, which includes the International Olympic Sports Federations.
Russian athletes and their coaches would only be allowed in these competitions if they demonstrate that they have nothing to do with the institutional doping system put in place in the country between 2011 and 2015.
In this case, they would again compete under the Olympic rather than the Russian flag.
For four years, Russia would not be permitted to host or submit a bid to host any of the events listed above.
Any competition that has already been awarded to Russia which is scheduled to take place during the four-year ban must be withdrawn and reassigned unless, according to WADA, “it is impossible to do so from a legal or practical point of view”.
Clarification will be required regarding federations which are unwilling to review their plans, notably the 2022 World Men’s Volleyball Championships and the 2023 Summer Universiade which are both scheduled for the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
Questions will also be asked about the Wrestling Worlds which are planned for Krasnoyarsk in 2022.
Some competitions, however, will not be affected, such as four Euro 2020 matches, including a quarter-final, and the 2021 Champions League final, all of which are taking place in St Petersburg.
WADA justified these exceptions last month by saying the competitions were “not multi-sport major events or world championships but rather regional/continental single-sport events”.
The same exemption would apply to events which make up one stage of a world circuit such as the Russian Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi.
No representative of the Russian government would be permitted to work for or sit on the committee of any signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, which effectively means any international sports federation.