Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general Yuri Ganus claims his opponents have attempted to use false evidence against him, after the organisation’s Supervisory Board recommended his removal earlier this week.
RUSADA’s Supervisory Board recommended the sacking Ganus on Wednesday (August 5), after an audit allegedly revealed a "number of significant irregularities in the financial and economic activities" of the organisation.
The final decision on Ganus' position rests with the founders of RUSADA - the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee.
ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov indicated yesterday that Ganus would be removed from his role after claiming that the organisation’s "fears have been confirmed".
Ganus has said false accusations have been made against him, including claims he wanted to retroactively approve the auditor and the 2018 annual report.
"Unreliable accusations [leveled at] me that I wanted to retroactively approve the auditor, the annual report or transactions do not stand up to scrutiny," Ganus told insidethegames.
"Firstly, according to all norms, the approval of the auditor and the annual report is the exclusive competence of the founders, therefore it was impossible.
"Secondly, the founders approved this auditor for the preparation of annual reports for 2017 and 2016, that is, even before my arrival at RUSADA."
Ganus also said increased logistical costs at RUSADA in 2019 had been due to rapid growth of the organisation, citing an increase in testing from 9,000 samples to 11,000, as well as investigations and international cooperation.
Ganus said this "technically exceeded the limit of my authority due to the intensive growth of transactions and delays in receipt of documents from the operator, taking into account postpay."
"It was assumed that the volume of transactions under the contract was to remain within my authority," Ganus said.
"With the approach to exceeding the permissible scope of powers, this issue was brought up to the nearest Supervisory Board.
"Anti-doping activities cannot be stopped.
"The Supervisory Board did not meet immediately, but at the time agreed upon by all seven of its members, taking into account the fact that the correspondence form of the Supervisory Council is not provided, and the online format became possible only in the current critical conditions.
"This technical issue is related to the rapid development of RUSADA, which could be rejoiced at.
"The Supervisory Board made a formal remark to agree on a contract with an operator containing a large number of minor transactions of the same type in advance.
"I explained that for RUSADA this is a new volume of the same operations that were in 2018 and this is a technical issue.
"I initiated this issue before the Supervisory Board, the reason for which was the rapid development of RUSADA.
"I had no intention of breaking the rules, it was a technical situation caused by the rapid growth of repetitive operations.
"At the meeting of the Supervisory Board, this issue was discussed, the observations of the Supervisory Board were adopted and implemented in RUSADA.
"This issue of 2019, which was removed from the agenda, was implemented more than seven months ago.
"Today the Supervisory Board is raising a long-considered technical issue and is trying to present it as a deliberate violation, which is neither true nor true.
"These were the consequences of the rapid growth of RUSADA, which could be happy and proud.
"But the Supervisory Board has a different view of RUSADA."
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) being satisfied that RUSADA’s independence is respected and there is no improper outside interference with its operations is among the conditions the Russian agency must meet if it is to be reinstated.
WADA has said it would "seek further clarification from the Russian authorities and consider any other steps that may be required" after discussing the matter with the Compliance Review Committee.
WADA added that it had previously raised concerns over potential interference in RUSADA’s operations and sought to clarify "how and why this audit was carried out" in a letter to Supervisory Board chairman Alexander Ivlev last month.
The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO), an umbrella body representing 67 national anti-doping bodies, has become the latest organisation to express concern over Ganus’ potential sacking.
"The iNADO is deeply concerned by the recommendation of the Supervisory Board of the RUSADA to dismiss the RUSADA Director General, Yuriy Ganus based on an audit commissioned by the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee," said Jorge Leyva, iNADO chief executive, in a statement.
"Following the Russian doping scandal, under Yuriy’s leadership RUSADA had proven itself to be an active, valued, and eager participant in international anti-doping work.
"It is crystal clear from this development that the notion of sports organisations auditing, even managing the outcomes, of anti-doping organisations presents a serious conflict of interest.
"It is disappointing to learn that the Supervisory Board of RUSADA did not address WADA's questions about how and why the audit was carried out and failed again to clarify the motives of this recommendation.
"The world of sport needs an active and competent Russian Anti-Doping Organisation to operate, and the recommendation to dismiss the organisation’s head under unclear circumstances raises questions about the commitment of Russian sport to safeguard the independence of its own National Anti-Doping Agency.
"iNADO understands the WADA is monitoring the situation and will rigorously assess the potential consequences of this decision to RUSADA’s compliance.
"iNADO awaits the result of WADA’s assessment with interest."
Looks like end game is being played out for #YuriyGanus at @rusada. Don't think this is going to help Russia's appeal at CAS against @wada_ama ruling that they should miss #Tokyo2020. Ganus is widely respected internationally and seen as an independent voice the world can trust. https://t.co/roKMLwjZ5d— Duncan Mackay (@Duncan_ITG) August 5, 2020
Ganus has said the RUSADA Supervisory Board also changed the organisation’s charter during the meeting, which would prevent deputy director general Margarita Pakhnotskaya from assuming his position should he be removed.
According to Russian sports website championat, Ganus viewed the decision as sabotage and suggested it could impact reinstatement efforts with both World Athletics and the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
"I don’t understand why, it's strange," Ganus was quoted as saying.
"We have built an international communication line.
"Now we will leave the ARAF [Russian Afletics Federation] restoration working group, we will leave the IBU, stop granting neutral status to athletes.
"Moreover, we are now setting up a road with other federations.
"I regard this as sabotage.
"When such actions take place, we don't need enemies either.
"Therefore, the solution is not clear.
"The only thing I can say is: I sincerely hope for sanity."
A World Athletics spokesperson told insidethegames Ganus’ situation is not connected to RusAF’s reinstatement process.
The vote to consider removing Ganus from a key position at RUSADA comes prior to the organisation's November court date with WADA after it appealed the four-year package of sanctions imposed as punishment for the manipulation of data at the Moscow Laboratory.
Ganus, appointed director general in 2017, told insidethegames that his removal could have consequences for RUSADA in its case against the WADA before it is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November.
Ganus oversaw WADA's controversial reinstatement of RUSADA after it was declared non-compliant in 2015.
RUSADA was again declared non-compliant by WADA last December after the country was found to have manipulated the Moscow Laboratory data.
Among the sanctions WADA has imposed on RUSADA is a four-year ban on the Russian flag flying at the Olympic Games or any World Championships.
Russia is also set to be stripped of any World Championships it has been awarded hosting rights to.
The sanctions will not come into force until CAS has rendered its final decision.
Hearings in the case are set to be held between November 2 and 5.