Wada retrieves Moscow lab data ahead of Rusada ruling

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has announced it has successfully received the data from the Moscow laboratory implicated in the Russian doping scandal, stating the news is a “major breakthrough” for clean sport.

In September, Wada made the controversial decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), overturning the suspension handed out in November 2015 amid the doping scandal that enveloped Russian sport. The reinstatement came with the caveat that all data from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and the underlying analytical data generated by the former Moscow Laboratory was retrieved by December 31.

However, Rusada and the Russian authorities missed this deadline with Wada immediately notifying Rusada of this non-conformity and a fast-track process outlined in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) instigated.

The data is crucial to build strong cases against cheats and exonerate other athletes suspected of having participated in widespread doping on the basis of previous Wada-commissioned investigations led by Dick Pound and Professor Richard McLaren. Wada said the data has been retrieved from the laboratory’s various servers, instruments, computers and other electronic equipment. It has been transported out of Russia for authentication and detailed analysis by the Agency.

The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC), which met in Montreal on January 14-15 to consider Rusada’s compliance status, received a full report on everything that has happened since the September 20 decision of reinstatement. It has now submitted its recommendation to be considered by the ExCo on January 22 with many western athletes and anti-doping bodies having stated that Rusada should again be suspended due to the missed deadline.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said: “This is a major breakthrough for clean sport. It shows we are continuing to make real progress that simply would not have happened without the September 20 ExCo decision. The first phase of the three-phase process outlined by that decision is now complete. The long impasse around access to the former Moscow Laboratory has been broken and that is significantly good news.

“Wada now embarks on the second phase, which entails the authentication and review of the data to ensure it is complete and that it has not been compromised. Given the amount of data, that will take some time to achieve but our experts have the tools they need to be able to verify the data with a high degree of confidence.

“Once the data has been authenticated, we will be in a position to proceed to the third phase and support the various sports and other anti-doping organisations concerned to build strong cases against athletes who doped and, as part of that, ensure that certain samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory are re-analysed in an accredited laboratory no later than June 30, 2019.”

Under new rules, a fresh suspension for Rusada could see Russia barred from hosting major international sports events until the situation is resolved.