MONTREAL, Canada, Sep 16 – Olympic champion Beckie Scott resigned from the World Anti-Doping Agency committee which recommended ending Russia’s drug suspension on Saturday as the global watchdog defended its handling of the case.
Scott, one of six members of WADA’s compliance review committee, stepped down a day after it emerged the panel had given a green light for the sanction against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to be lifted at a board meeting in the Seychelles on September 20.
WADA’s disclosure of the committee’s decision on Friday drew criticism from athletes and other testing bodies who claim Russian authorities have not met set benchmarks necessary for readmission.
The WADA decision also came after a leaked document earlier this week which showed that the committee had initially recommended leaving the ban in place at next week’s meeting.
Scott’s resignation, which was reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC, appears to highlight tensions within WADA over the decision.
Scott will retain her role as the head of WADA’s athlete’s committee, reports said.
The RUSADA has been suspended by WADA since 2015, when the global agency revealed a vast, Russian state-supported doping scandal to cheat at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and for years beforehand.
WADA’s apparent U-turn on Friday was condemned by US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart.
“Frankly, it stinks to high heaven,” Tygart said, demanding WADA release all relevant correspondence regarding the issue.
“Today, WADA has unequivocally told the world the type of organization it is: one that supports the desires of a handful of sports administrators over the rights of millions of clean athletes.”
WADA on Friday said it’s compliance committee was recommending lifting the suspension after reviewing a letter from the Russian Ministry of Sport.
“This letter sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia, therefore fulfilling the first of the two outstanding criteria of RUSADA’s Roadmap to Compliance,” WADA said.
It said Russia had also agreed to provide access to data and samples in its Moscow laboratory to WADA via an independent expert.
However in a separate statement issued on Saturday, WADA suggested lifting of the sanction next week was not a foregone conclusion.
It said Russia still needed to provide data from the drug-tainted Moscow laboratory at the centre of the scandal within a set time frame.
“If the CRC’s recommendation is approved by the WADA ExCo on 20 September, RUSADA will be declared compliant,” WADA said.
“However, for the avoidance of doubt, the second condition demands that WADA receives a copy of the former Moscow Laboratory’s database and the raw data via an independent expert within a strict time limit to be determined by the ExCo.
“If this is not met in full, then the CRC will recommend to the ExCo that RUSADA is, once again, declared non-compliant.”