Access to the Moscow Laboratory has been viewed as key to completing cases against Russian athletes accused of doping offences ©Getty Images

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) have stated it is important for access to be provided to the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory to ensure samples can be accessed to allow the continuation of investigations.

The IBU are currently investigating cases against biathletes allegedly implicated by the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database obtained by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

A number of cases involving Russian biathletes remain pending and fresh charges against four competitors from the country were revealed earlier this month.

The identities of the competitors have not been confirmed but Russian media reported the athletes include Olympic gold medallists Svetlana Sleptsova and Evgeny Ustyugov, as well as Alexander Pechenkin and Alexander Chernyshov.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was formally reinstated by WADA during an Executive Committee meeting in the Seychelles earlier this week, with the vote going comfortably in Russia’s favour by nine votes to two with one abstention.

RUSADA’s ban was initially introduced in November 2015 when allegations emerged of state sponsored doping in Russian athletics.

To be allowed back, WADA initially declared Russia must accept the findings of the McLaren Report and allow access to the Moscow anti-doping lab.

RUSADA has now, however, been reinstated despite not yet meeting either of those two requirements, much to the dismay of many in global sport.

As part of the "strict conditions" decided by the WADA Executive Committee, Russia must ensure the data is handed over to WADA by no later than December 31 of this year.

WADA has also demanded that they be given the chance to re-analyse "any samples as required by WADA" no later than June 30, 2019.

If Russia fails to do this, RUSADA could again be declared non-compliant.

Svetlana Sleptsova was named by Russian media as being an athlete allegedly implicated by LIMS data ©Getty Images
Svetlana Sleptsova was named by Russian media as being an athlete allegedly implicated by LIMS data ©Getty Images

The IBU have reportedly expressed the importance of the data being provided to ensure cases could potentially be followed up.

"It is not for the IBU to judge or comment a decision by another organisation,” the IBU stated, according to Russian news agency TASS.

“The IBU is determined to fight for a clean sport and has used the Moscow LIMS dataset provided by WADA and the information from the McLaren report already to put athletes on trial.

"It is important now that Russia provides the data and access to the samples stored at the Moscow Laboratory as agreed with WADA.

“The decision today has no consequences on the field of play.

“Russian athletes have participated in IBU events in the period of RUSADA’s suspension.”

Biathlete Ekaterina Glazyrina was given a two-year ban by the IBU earlier this year, with the LIMS database and the McLaren Report used to sanction the athlete.

Olga Zaitseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova were banned by the International Olympic Committee and disqualified from Sochi 2014 for their role in the state-sponsored doping scheme.

Their cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport have been postponed, with the expectation they will be heard after decisions on other remaining cases surrounding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The IBU have new leadership, with Sweden’s Olle Dahlin having been elected as the organisation’s President earlier this month.

He replaced Anders Besseberg, after the Norwegian and secretary general Nicole Resch stood down earlier this year, having become subject of a criminal investigation which focuses on possible doping, fraud and corruption.

Besseberg and Resch are suspected of accepting bribes amounting to $300,000 (£211,000/€243,000) and other benefits in return for a favourable stance towards Russia - but deny wrongdoing.