The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has completed its investigation into 298 Russian athletes, with its independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) team having provided detailed case packages to 28 anti-doping organisations (ADOs), including 27 international federations (IFs) and one major event organisation.
Wada announced in July last year that it had provided IFs with its first batch of data relating to its Russian investigation, which has now been completed. Wada I&I has been compiling evidence packages in respect of individual cases since the team retrieved a copy of the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), associated raw data and samples from the former Moscow Laboratory in January and April last year.
Wada I&I this week held explanatory webinars with the relevant ADOs to explain the content of the case packages, and how they can be used to determine whether Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) against the athletes should be pursued.
Wada has previously stated that the alleged manipulation of the data relates to the files of 145 athletes within the target group of 298. Neither the details of the athletes nor the IFs to which the case packages have been provided have been disclosed.
Wada noted that the evidence available for each package is different and the relevant organisations will be given autonomy on whether to bring it forward as an ADRV or not. Wada will discuss the facts with each ADO and will also review the decisions rendered by the ADOs and, if appropriate, appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Wada will also be able to bring cases directly to CAS if no decision is rendered in a reasonable time frame, as outlined in the World Anti-Doping Code.
Wada I&I director Gunter Younger said: “Wada’s investigations team continues to make steady progress on this extremely challenging, long-running and multi-faceted investigation. We have built these case packages based on all available evidence and we will continue to provide assistance and advice to the relevant organisations as they assess whether they will bring them forward as doping cases.
“The fact that we have moved to the results management phase now for the entire target group means we are another step closer to bringing those who cheated to justice. This has always been the objective for us as we continue to do what is best for clean sport and athletes around the world.”
Wada said that 153 of the 298 cases handed over would be unaffected by the alleged manipulation that resulted in a non-compliance case being brought by Wada against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), which in December led to Wada upholding a recommendation for Russia to be banned from the international sports community for four years. The case is now pending before CAS.
Wada president Witold Bańka added: “This has been the most complex enquiry in anti-doping history and Wada’s investigations team has been doing an outstanding job. It has been a huge undertaking, involving thousands of samples, 24 terabytes of data, hundreds of athletes across 28 organisations, and it is delivering real results.
“The Russian doping crisis has dominated Wada’s time and resources over the past five years and the Agency’s investigations team has been on the frontline. I would like to thank them for their diligence, professionalism and expertise, as well as the organisations that have now received case packages for the work they will do and their ongoing cooperation in protecting clean sport and for bringing as many cheats to justice as possible.”
Bańka said that more reanalysis of the samples retrieved from the former Moscow laboratory is still ongoing, with 57 cases already in the results management phase.