The International Biathlon Union (IBU) are at risk of being declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code after they awarded their 2021 World Championships to Russia, a spokesperson for the organisation has told insidethegames.
WADA, who had urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to impose a blanket ban on Russia from Rio 2016 before the Games, admitted they were "surprised" that Tyumen had won the rights to the IBU’s flagship event in 2021.
They have "sought clarification" from world biathlon’s governing body and will "decide on the way forward" once they have received a response.
WADA have accused the IBU of being in violation of the Code, of which they are a signatory, as the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remains non-compliant and there were two other bidders in the race for the 2021 event - Nové Město na Moravě in the Czech Republic and Pokljuka in Slovenia.
Tyumen, located 2,500 kilometres east of Moscow, won in the first round with a majority of 25 votes.
The Code says it is the "responsibility" of the International Federations to "do everything possible to award World Championships only to countries where the Government has ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the UNESCO Convention and the National Olympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee and National Anti-Doping Organisation are in compliance with the Code".
It is not yet known whether the IBU could face any sanctions but, at a meeting held in Montreal last Saturday (September 3), WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee discussed possible consequences of non-compliance along with a “compliance questionnaire for Code signatories”.
The vote of the IBU to award the Championships sparked controversy following the IOC Executive Board’s recommendations that they "freeze preparations" for any major event in Russia and to "seek alternative hosts”, made in the wake of the WADA-commissioned McLaren Report.
insidethegames understands, however, that the Winter Federations were told by the IOC during a meeting at Rio 2016 that the ruling only applied to future candidacies of Russian cities for major events and not to those which had already been awarded or planned bids from the country.
The IOC statement, released in July following publication of the McLaren Report, which alleged the presence of a state-sponsored doping scheme at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics as well as other major events, did not make this clear.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli and Fred Donzé were present at the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations meeting at the Olympics, along with IOC sports director Kit McConnell, insidethegames understands.
The IBU has defended the decision to give the 2021 World Championships to Russia at their Congress in Chisinau in Moldova, claiming they were just following the recommendations of the IOC Executive Board.
IBU President Anders Besseberg, who also sits on WADA’s ruling Foundation Board, told NRK today that he "doesn’t understand why it has become a big issue" and that it was "entirely unproblematic".
The Norwegian also told the Associated Press that if the more detailed McLaren Report, due to be unveiled later this month, reveals further manipulation from Russians that the Siberian city could be stripped of the Championships.
"If they should come up with things that it will be wrong, or as a kind of punishment, that you cannot organise big events in Russia, then there is absolutely no problem for us," he said.
"We will have a new congress in 2018."
The IBU has been subjected to fierce criticism for awarding the World Championships to Russia, with Norwegian Biathlon Federation President Erlend Slokvik describing it as a "scandal".
Newly-elected IBU vice-president for sport Max Cobb told insidethegames that Slokvik was "not alone in his view" while claiming the credibility of the IOC had been undermined by their backtracking on the recommendations they made to Winter Federations concerning staging major events in Russia.