The country has been imposed with a four-year ban from all global sport
News just in – Russia has been slapped with a four-year ban from all major sporting events – including the 2020 Olympics and football’s 2022 World Cup – by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Switzerland today, after discovering that Russia planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats. Uh oh.
The four-year ban is the severest punishment yet, and it means the Russian flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It also requires moving any international events the country was set to host during the four-year period.
However, athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag, a choice 168 Russian athletes made at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Because of doping offences, Russia has actually been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since November 2015, although it was controversially reinstated by Wada in 2018.
One condition of its reinstatement in 2018 was to hand over data earlier this year to Wada regarding the athletes. From this, Wada discovered manipulated laboratory data, and has now said Russia has 21 days to appeal against the ban.
Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was ‘not enough’, adding, ‘I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down,’ she said. ‘We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.’
Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St Petersburg will be a host city – as European football’s governing body Uefa is not defined as a major event organisation.
This is a sad day for sport.