The World Anti-Doping Agency decided today to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
The International Paralympic Committee released its statement on the decision earlier today, indicating that the IPC Taskforce will have to assess if WADA’s decision addresses two of the three remaining reinstatement criteria related to the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee. The Russian Paralympic Committee has been suspended since 2016, and Russia has not participated in the last two Paralympic Games.
IPC reacts to the reinstatement of RUSADA by WADA
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and IPC Athletes’ Council today issued a joint statement following the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “After a long stalemate between the Russian authorities and WADA, I am glad that this situation has moved forward. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and RUSADA should be under no illusions that failure to comply fully with the conditions outlined by WADA will result in their swift non-compliance.
“Since the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) was suspended in August 2016, Russia has not been allowed to compete in two Paralympic Games and several World and European Championships, covering some of the biggest sports in the Paralympic Movement. During this time however, they have made significant progress and we are confident that the anti-doping system now in place in Russia is very different from the corrupted system that existed and polluted international sport. Russian Para athletes are now amongst the most tested and scrutinised athletes in the world and, following WADA’s decision, this scrutiny will only increase further.
“It is the IPC Taskforce that will assess whether WADA’s decision about RUSADA addresses two of the final three remaining reinstatement criteria related to the RPC suspension. We do not expect the IPC Taskforce to provide any recommendations to the IPC Governing Board until the criterion related to the IPC’s reimbursement costs associated with the suspension is satisfied.
“Once the IPC Taskforce makes its recommendations, the IPC Governing Board will convene to determine whether to lift the RPC’s suspension.”
To date, the RPC owe the IPC EUR 257,500 for expenditure concerning the increased testing programme of Russian Para athletes and the IPC Taskforce.
Chelsey Gotell, IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson, said “The IPC Athletes’ Council have discussed today’s decision at length. As athletes we are obligated and responsible for following strict rules to be compliant in our sports and we expect that the organisations who are in place to safeguard and protect the integrity and fairness in sport and our athletes, do the same.
“There are many athletes around the world who have concerns with this decision. These will be ongoing until WADA has full access to the Moscow laboratory and can verify samples. There must be complete transparency around the reinstatement process going forward. Should RUSADA not comply or fail to meet the strict conditions and timelines outlined by WADA then immediate action needs to be taken. The whole world is watching on with great interest.
“Once access is granted to the laboratory, Para athlete data must be verified and analysed by WADA with the same priority as our Olympic counterparts.
“As the guardians of clean sport, we want to believe WADA that the new anti-doping system in Russia is working and abiding fully by the rules. At the same time, WADA and RUSADA must do more to help build trust and confidence in the now compliant system, especially amongst the athlete community.
“Looking forward we are keen to see the Russian Para athletes we were elected to represent return to competing and challenging for medals in IPC events. This will allow Russia to develop its Para sport programme in an environment that will not fail clean sport again.”
STATEMENT FROM KAREN O’NEILL, CEO, CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE:
The Canadian Paralympic Committee believes in clean, fair sport and that all athletes and sport organizations should be subject to the same stringent rules. We are deeply disappointed by WADA’s decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency because the evidence shown to date does not yet indicate 100 per cent compliance. We believe more work must be done to ensure transparency and trust moving forward, and the integrity of the international sport system must be the number one priority.
Cheating has no place in Paralympic sport. We, and our athletes, coaches, and community, remain steadfastly committed to fair play and live by these values every day. Our athletes and coaches have raised concerns about today’s decision, and we hear and support them. We will continue to fight for the rights of our Canadian athletes who are committed to clean sport and a fair playing field.”