The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday (February 3) said it has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a public hearing on its case for Russia’s exclusion from international sporting competitions.
The fate of Russian athletes will be at stake in the hearing as they hope to compete in several events including this year’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and 2022 football World Cup.
This comes a month after the top anti-doping board confirmed that the CAS will take a call on the four-year ban imposed on Russia in December last year, after considering the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) case against the epic sanction.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli said his group made the formal request for a public forum to resolve the dispute would ensure the world hears the case from both sides and understands how punishment, if any, is administered.
“WADA’s investigations on Russia, and this latest case of non-compliance, have generated huge interest around the world,” Niggli said.
“It is WADA’s view — and that of many of our stakeholders — that this dispute at CAS should be held in a public forum to ensure that everybody understands the process and hears the arguments.”
In December, WADA imposed a four-year ban on Russia over what it considers a state-sponsored doping scheme — prohibiting Russia from participating in such events as this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
WADA says Russia “manipulated” data from an anti-doping laboratory in Moscow in the latest move in a long-running scandal that began with the 2015 revelation of long-term institutional doping involving senior Russian officials, secret agents, and trafficked urine vials.
Under the sanctions, Russians would be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics only if they can demonstrate they were not part of the doping network — the same situation Russian athletes faced at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
RUSADA disputed the WADA executive committee ban on December 27, setting the stage for WADA to send the case to CAS.
WADA investigators retrieved data from the RUSADA Moscow laboratory last year, but in analyzing the data, WADA and independent investigators confirmed the data had been manipulated and some data had been deleted.
(With inputs from agencies)