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Rodchenkov lawyer: WADA integrity requires Russia ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency was denied key lab data required to complete Russia’s controversial reinstatement to sports after revelations of a state-backed doping program © AFP/File / Marc BRAIBANT, Marc BRAIBANT

NEW YORK, United States, Dec 23 – The attorney for Russian doping scandal whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov said Saturday that restoring Russia to World Anti-Doping Agency compliance after being denied key lab data would destroy WADA’s integrity.

The move came a day after the Canada-based sport doping watchdogs announced a five-member panel would return from Moscow empty-handed after not being allowed to retrieve data from a suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) laboratory. The data had been required to complete Russia’s controversial September reinstatement to sports by WADA after revelations of a state-backed doping program.

“(WADA president) Craig Reedie is Nero, playing his fiddle while Russia burns clean sports to the ground,” attorney Jim Walden said. “The time for half measures and appeasement must finally come to an end. If RUSADA is not now banned, the last measure of WADA’s integrity will vanish.”

Rodchenkov, whose testimony unveiled the elaborate Russian doping scheme for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, is in hiding in the United States in the wake of death threats after the Russians were punished, including a ban from this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

WADA gave the Russians a conditional release from the ban in September but one of the requirements was full access to data at the Moscow lab and that did not happen this week as a WADA team had expected because, in the words of a WADA statement, “an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team’s equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law.”

The data could exonerate Russia or incriminate the Moscow lab and Russian doping program as well as corroborating Rodchenkov’s testimony.

WADA officials have said they want to review the data and Russians retest any samples WADA wishes by June 30 2019 as part of the reinstatement deal.

Walden also commented on a new bill introduced Friday by US lawmakers that would criminalize international sports doping conspiracies that impact major international competitions.

The bill was named for Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director.

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Penalties will include fines of up to $1 million or imprisonment of up to 10 years, depending on the violation.

It also provides for restitution to victims of such conspiracies and for protection of whistleblowers from retaliation.

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