Yuri Ganus has been sacked as Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general after a recommendation was approved by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC).
The ROC hosted the joint meeting today, with RUSADA’s founders voting on Ganus’ future in the position.
The RUSADA Supervisory Board had earlier this month recommended the dismissal of Ganus, after an audit allegedly revealed a "number of significant irregularities in the financial and economic activities" of the organisation.
ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov had earlier this month suggested the organisation would be in favour of approving the recommendation, with the official claiming their "fears have been confirmed".
Pozdnyakov confirmed to the Russian state news agency TASS that the ROC and RPC had voted in favour of removing Ganus.
RUSADA lawyer Mikhail Bukhanov will assume Ganus’ role on a temporary basis, with a permanent replacement expected to be named within six months.
"Having carefully considered all the arguments of colleagues, the general meeting of the founders of RUSADA decided to accept the recommendations and remove Ganus from office," Pozdnyakov said.
"The decision was made solely on the basis of identifying the facts of violations.
"At one time, the ROC and the RPC, as founders of RUSADA, acted as guarantors of the agency receiving direct subsidies from the state budget, which made it possible to ensure the agency's operational activities and operational independence from any sports organisations and structures.
"ROC and RPC approve RUSADA's financial statements, thereby carrying responsibility for proper spending of public funds.
"It is fundamentally important for us that financial activities are carried out transparently and in accordance with all the rules of law and provisions enshrined in the organisation's charter.
"To ensure continuous operational activity and correct violations committed by the previous management, the organisation will select a new chief executive on a competitive basis no later than six months from today.
"As for the reaction of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in accordance with all regulatory documents, the organisation's charter, all decisions are completely legitimate and comply with both Russian and international legislation."
Pozdnyakov reportedly said law enforcement is expected to be contacted regarding the alleged violations made by Ganus.
RUSADA deputy director general Margarita Pakhnotskaya has confirmed she resigned from her position yesterday.
"I do not like this situation, yes, I left of my own free will, I see no reason to continue," Pakhnotskaya told TASS.
Ganus has insisted false accusations have been made against him, including claims he wanted to retroactively approve the auditor and the 2018 annual report.
He has claimed increased logistical costs at RUSADA in 2019 were due to the 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 also claimed earlier this month that the RUSADA Supervisory Board also changed the organisation's charter, which prevented Pakhnotskaya from assuming his position should he be removed.
Ganus’ removal as RUSADA director general could be another key moment in the Russian doping crisis.
WADA said it acknowledged the dismissal of Ganus, as well as the resignations of Pakhnotskaya and Sergey Khrychikov, the independent international expert member of RUSADA’s Supervisory Board.
WADA claimed the decision reinforced concerns raised earlier this month over the manner in which the recommendation to dismiss Ganus was reached.
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.
"These developments reinforce the concerns expressed by WADA in its statement of August 5 in relation to the manner in which the Founders reached the decision regarding Mr Ganus following a recommendation by RUSADA’s Supervisory Board; and, re-emphasise the critical importance for RUSADA to maintain its operational independence going forward," a WADA statement read.
"WADA is in contact with RUSADA and other relevant Russian authorities to get further clarifications on the latest developments; and, will update the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) accordingly.
"With RUSADA’s non-compliance case pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, WADA will continue to monitor RUSADA’s developments closely.
"It is a critical element of the World Anti-Doping Code that National Anti-Doping Organisations, such as RUSADA, remain safe from interference in their operational decisions and activities in order to conduct their work independently and effectively.
"This is why the CRC, when it issued its recommendation to declare RUSADA non-compliant with the Code that was unanimously endorsed by the Agency’s Executive Committee on 9 December 2019, made it a condition of RUSADA’s reinstatement that WADA remains satisfied that RUSADA’s independence is being respected and there is no improper outside interference with its operations.
"The current situation will be monitored in light of this condition."
RUSADA has appealed a four-year package of sanctions imposed as punishment for the manipulation of data at the Moscow Laboratory.
Ganus, who was appointed as RUSADA director general in 2017, had warned prior to today’s meeting that his sacking could potentially impact the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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 the Court of Arbitration for Sport has rendered its final decision.
Hearings in the case are set to be held between November 2 and 5.