From Inside the Games

A formal compliance procedure has been launched against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the country has been given three weeks by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to respond to allegations it manipulated data from the Moscow Laboratory.

In a statement following a WADA Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo today, the organisation said “inconsistencies” in the data it retrieved from the laboratory had triggered the procedure, which could lead to RUSADA being declared non-compliant.

It could prompt WADA to declare RUSADA, controversially reinstated following a near three year-suspension last September, non-compliant again, a decision which may even threaten the country’s participation at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

WADA said it had set a three-week deadline for RUSADA and the Russian Sports Ministry to “provide their comments, together with answers to a list of specific questions” following suggestions the data has been tampered with.

They will be expected to address the reasons behind differences between the Laboratory Information Management System database provided by a whistleblower in October 2017 and the version WADA extracted from the facility in January.

Compliance Review Committee chairman Jonathan Taylor told insidethegames a team of forensic experts could not find an “innocent reason” for the discrepancies, thought to include the deletion of positive test results.

But Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told Russia’s official state news agency TASS that it would address the issues found by WADA.

“What, exactly, these inconsistencies are and what they are related to, that will be cleared up by experts in the field of digital technology from both sides, who are already cooperating,” Kolobkov said.

“From our side, we will continue to offer all possible assistance.”

The responses given by RUSADA and the Sports Ministry will be analysed before the CRC considers whether to make a formal recommendation to the Executive Committee.

Taylor said the experts would meet on October 23 to discuss the explanations provided before the CRC convenes to make a recommendation.

The British lawyer added that the CRC would not “pre-judge” the outcome but reiterated the strongest sanctions available under the code would be brought against Russia if deliberate manipulation is found.

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