Staunton, July 2 – The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating 298 Russian athletes for doping using samples collected by the Russian anti-doping authorities. It has reviewed 43 cases so far and sent these cases for the relevant international athletic federations for possible action. WADA says it hopes to complete the processing of these new cases by the end of 2019.
In making the announcement, WADA said ““there is still a lot of work left to do but we wish to acknowledge the ongoing cooperation with IFs [international federations] as well as RUSADA [the Russian anti-doping body]. None of this progress would be possible without WADA’s ExCo decision of September 2018” (wada-ama.org/en/media/news/2019-07/wada-provides-international-federations-with-first-batch-of-cases-in-russia and rns.online/sports-economy/WADA-poschitala-probi-298-rossiiskih-sportsmenov-podozritelnimi-2019-07-02).
And WADA stressed that if any particular international federation chooses not to act on the basis of the evidence provided it, “WADA will review and discuss the facts with the IF. WADA reserves the right to bring cases forward to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as appropriate and monitor the decisions rendered by the respective IFs and CAS.”
“In addition to and separate from the evidentiary packages,” the announcement continued, “WADA I&I has commenced a targeted re-analysis program of samples removed from Moscow. Already, three Adverse Analytical Findings have been identified and reported. In collaboration with WADA I&I, RUSADA has notified the athletes and progressed ADRVs.”
The international doping agency said that “the commitment and assistance of RUSADA throughout this process has been invaluable,” but it did not stress the obvious: Despite the attention the Russian doping program received in the past, it appears that program is continuing, yet another indication that Russia today feels it can thumb its nose at international rules.
If as seems likely the international community largely ignores this latest report or treats it as marginal, Moscow’s bet that it can do so in the current environment will have proved to be a good one, just one more signal that the Kremlin under Vladimir Putin has concluded that the West isn’t prepared to take a tough line on Russian violations of all kinds.