The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has criticised the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes at Rio 2016 after they had called for the nation to be completely exiled from the Games in the wake of Richard McLaren’s report.
Following a second emergency meeting of the ruling Executive Board yesterday, the IOC left the responsibility on the extent of Russian participation at next month’s Olympic Games to the International Federations (IFs).
Russian athletes will be cleared to compete as long as they can show they have fulfilled a set of stringent criteria.
Any Russian athletes who have been banned for doping, even if they have served their sanction, have been prohibited from taking part by the IOC.
WADA had been one of the leading organisations to urge the IOC to impose a wholesale ban on the scandal-hit country after McLaren’s Report uncovered a state-sponsored doping scheme which was in place at Sochi 2014 and several other major events, including the 2013 World Athletics Championships and swimming’s equivalent in 2015.
The organisation, led by President Sir Craig Reedie, had recommended both the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee “decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee”.
WADA said Russian needed to achieve a "culture change".
It came after the report had revealed a “disappearing positive” methodology in Russia, where positive samples were switched for clean ones, in more than 30 sports.
The IOC’s decision has caused controversy and has seen a number of anti-doping agencies and athletes, including Olympic champions such as Britain’s long jumper Greg Rutherford, criticise the body’s failure to suspend the entire Russian team from Rio 2016.
WADA have become the latest organisation to speak out against the IOC for ignoring their call to impose the toughest possible sanction on Russia.
They said in a statement that they would "stand by" the recommendations of their Executive Committee.
“WADA is disappointed that the IOC did not heed WADA’s Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonised approach,” Sir Craig said.
“The McLaren Report exposed, beyond a reasonable doubt, a state-run doping programme in Russia that seriously undermines the principles of clean sport embodied within the World Anti-Doping Code.”
WADA director general Olivier Niggli was also unhappy with the IOC’s decision, which means Russia’s flag will fly at the Games, claiming it could lead to less protection for clean athletes.
“While WADA fully respects the IOC’s autonomy to make decisions under the Olympic Charter, the approach taken and the criteria set forward will inevitably lead to a lack of harmonisation, potential challenges and lesser protection for clean athletes,” he said.
WADA has confirmed that the names of those athletes implicated in McLaren’s Report have been passed over to the respective IFs.
Any competitor who is included in the findings will also be banned from competing at Rio 2016.
The body has also revealed McLaren has been granted an extension to allow him to continue his investigation into Russian doping.
The IOC had recommended his mandate be prolonged as part of a series of decisions made at an Executive Board meeting last Tuesday (July 19).
Niggli exclusively told insidethegames last week that they would "find the money" to allow him to carry on with his probe.