Russian foreign minister criticizes doping sanctions call

The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, has been sharply critical of the country’s authorities’ approach to the issue and said it expects Russia will likely have to accept the consequences.

26 November 2019 | 13:33

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 26 November 2019 | 13:33

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to Iceland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. (AP Photo)

MOSCOW: The Russian foreign minister cast calls for new anti-doping sanctions on Russian sports as one more Western effort to sideline Russia on Tuesday.

A key panel at the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended on Monday that Russian athletes compete as neutrals at next year’s Olympics and other major events for the next four years. The panel also wants Russia banned from hosting events during that time.

“There are those who want to put Russia in a defensive position accused of pretty much everything in every sphere of international life — conflicts, economics, energy, gas pipelines, arms sales,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow when asked about the WADA panel’s recommendation.

WADA’s executive board will vote on the recommendations on Dec. 9.

Handing over the data in January was meant to be Russia’s peace offering to put years of doping disputes behind it, while allowing past cover-ups to be revealed.

However, WADA’s compliance review committee concluded there were intense efforts to remove hundreds of positive tests and plant fake messages implicating WADA’s star witness, former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.

The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, has been sharply critical of the country’s authorities’ approach to the issue and said it expects Russia will likely have to accept the consequences.

“One of the conditions for the sports authorities was not met, and unfortunately our athletes become hostages in this situation,” RUSADA CEO Yuri Ganus told The Associated Press.

“Now there’s a question about a possible appeal, but as a lawyer I don’t see how it can be appealed.”

He added: “We’re in the fifth year of this crisis, and unfortunately those individuals running our sport have not just failed to bring it out of the crisis, they’ve stuck it in deeper.”

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