© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka addressed the 47th General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations on Friday. He told the audience that WADA continues to have trust issues with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and that the agency continues to be non-compliant.
“RUSADA will remain non-compliant until it fulfils each of the reinstatement conditions set by the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” said Bańka.
“And until we have been able to verify them, we will continue to follow the agreed process.
“However, I must say that our trust in the independence of the anti-doping system remains very low.”
Today, I addressed the 47th General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, which coincided with ASOIF's 40th anniversary. During my speech, I congratulated @ASOIFSummerIFs for uniting its member federations in promoting the values of clean sport… pic.twitter.com/my22MT4YNF— Witold Bańka (@WitoldBanka) May 31, 2023
Amongst a number of issues related to personal, doping cases, fraudulent appeals and a general cacophony of trip-ups by RUSADA, the manipulation of athlete data in the mainframe computer at the primary Moscow-based laboratory is a sore point. RUSADA is not compliant and the culture in Russia is accepting of cheating and manipulation to gain advantage in everyday life.
Meanwhile, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach continues to lobby in favour of Russia partaking in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Bach has been saying that “naysayers” who do not want Russia in the Olympics need to separate politics from sport. He has also said to the media that some events have included Russian athletes and that those events went well. That’s not the issue at hand — his deflection is of poor tactics.
The issue at hand is that Russia shouldn’t be permitted to parade around with the nation’s brand, anthem, flag and name, while they are killing Ukrainians. Additionally, Vladimir Putin has given direction to subordinates to hastily organize the new Goodwill Games. The original Goodwill Games were cancelled due to low television ratings. Perhaps Putin does not understand that without participation from a large number of countries, there will be fewer sponsors. Additionally, without a lucrative television broadcast and streaming contract, the audience will be smaller, therefore sponsors and advertisers will be disinterested. The question is, are the people of Russia going to fund the Goodwill Games as they do the war in Ukraine?
Bach continues to promote Russia’s inclusion by avoiding the systematic doping elephant in the room.
Putin signed a bill that gives RUSADA the authority to approve national anti-doping rules, which the country’s Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin claimed, “will demonstrate Russia’s responsible and consistent approach in the fight against doping.”
This is dishonest. RUSADA staff promoted doping. Yulia Stepanova, an 800 metre runner, indicated in the book The Russian Affair, that she was a victim of systematic doping and that if she did not dope, she would not be afforded certain high-level training camps and quality coaches. The authorization to fight doping through a political bill is subterfuge.
RUSADA director general Veronika Loginova also said in March that the IOC had no reason not to trust her organization in response to concerns raised by Bach.
Speaking at a meeting of the Russian State Duma Sports Committee yesterday, Loginova said RUSADA had started to fulfil the latest financial obligation to WADA in relation to CAS’ ruling in 2020.
“There was one thing left — the costs that WADA incurred from the moment the CAS decision was made until the completion of the restoration,” said Loginov in a report by Russia’s official state news agency TASS.
“This amount was not determined, it was not set.
“We received two invoices [payment orders] – the first one is dated November 2022, the second we received only in March.
“These are the last financial obligations that we have not fulfilled for a certain period of time.
“But we quickly worked out this issue, having received additional funding.
“Yesterday the first payment went away, we pay in small amounts because there are restrictions on the banking system.
“Secondly, this is our decision to make sure that the payment is delivered.
“WADA is fine with that.
“We have begun to fulfill the last financial obligation under the decision of CAS.”
Paying bills does not require a general cultural shift in attitude.