The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has today (Monday) said it will call for “serious” action against Russia before the 2016 Olympic Games if the findings of an investigation due next month show evidence of concerted state-sponsored doping.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Friday elected to uphold a ban on the country’s athletes competing at Rio 2016, stating that the country had not made sufficient progress on reforming its doping controls. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to discuss the matter at a special summit meeting in Switzerland tomorrow (Tuesday) and on Saturday said it “welcomes and supports the IAAF’s strong stance against doping.”
Russia is facing a battle on multiple fronts, with Wada having last month appointed Richard McLaren as an independent leader of the investigation into allegations of a doping cover-up at the 2014 winter Olympic Games. McLaren is tasked with investigating the allegations made in relation to the 2014 Sochi Games, which were published by US broadcaster CBS and the New York Times newspaper earlier in May.
The Canadian law professor and sports lawyer was one of Wada’s three-person Independent Commission, which exposed the widespread doping in Russian athletics last year. Wada president Craig Reedie (pictured) today said the McLaren investigation would make its findings public before July 15 at the latest.
If the investigation shows evidence of widespread state-run cheating across many sports, Reedie said it would be a moment for a “precedent-setting opportunity.” Reedie did not confirm that Wada would definitely call for a total ban on the country, but told the Reuters news agency: “If it comes back like that, we have to say something serious.”
He added: “In the coming weeks, we will learn the outcomes of our independent McLaren investigation. If his report indicates transgressions of any kind, then there will be a precedent-setting opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to cleaning up sport. The world will be watching.”
Wada was present at a special symposium at Lord’s cricket ground in London debating the issue of drugs in sport. It confirmed that it is already working with the International Aquatics Federation (Fina) on an investigation into doping allegations made against the Russian and Chinese swimming teams.