Russia Sanctions Fall Short of the Mark

10 Dec 2019
Caroline O'Mahony

Sport Ireland has expressed its disappointment that a full ban on Russian involvement in international competition was not implemented in wake of the discovery of wholescale manipulation of data provided to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Russian authorities.

This follows yesterday’s decision of the Executive Committee of WADA to endorse the recommendation made by its  Compliance Review Committee that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period of four years.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “The sanctions endorsed yesterday by the Executive Committee of WADA, while strong in some areas, do not go far enough to address the sheer scale of the systematic corruption encountered in Russia. It is entirely disappointing that WADA did not implement a full and immediate ban of all Russian athletes from international competition, including, as a minimum, the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games until such time as the confidence in the Russian anti-doping system is fully restored beyond any doubt.

“It is incumbent upon us to protect the interests of our clean athletes. While WADA has outlined a mechanism whereby Russian athletes can compete under a neutral flag, this system does not appear to be without flaw. Russian athletes will still be able to compete under the same coaches and support personnel that were a key part of one of the most shocking scandal in the history of international sport. Our athletes deserve better.”

While the decision by WADA includes the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 2020 European Championships, in which Russia is one of the host countries, falls outside the scope of the sanctions.

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, added: “That a country found to have operated a systematic doping regime can still play host to one of the world’s biggest sporting events is troubling. Clarity is needed around the role Russia can play with regard to the hosting of future international events, particularly around their status when it comes to making bids for competitions during the period of exclusion. It is important that this is not allowed to happen and that all sanctions are enforced in the strictest terms.”