McLaren Claims WADA Gave Up on Possibility of Making Russia Comply

© REUTERS / Neil HallLawyer Richard McLaren (L) takes questions after delivering his second and final part of a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), at a news conference in London, Britain December 9, 2016
Lawyer Richard McLaren (L) takes questions after delivering his second and final part of a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), at a news conference in London, Britain December 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has abandoned the idea of making Russia obey by deciding to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Canadian professor Richard McLaren, the author of the high-profile WADA report into doping in Russian sports, said.

On Thursday, WADA President Craig Reedie said most members of the WADA Executive Committee voted to restore the status of RUSADA following its suspension in 2015 over violations of the World Anti-Doping Code. The WADA chief noted, however, that the organization might reinstate RUSADA's non-compliance if the Russian agency failed to meet a timeline of giving WADA access to the data and samples of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

"I think WADA found themselves in a difficult circumstance where they decided the practicality of the situation should lead them in the direction that they've gone. In the course of doing so they have given up any hold on being able to make Russia comply," McLaren told CBC News broadcaster on Thursday.

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, Travis Tygart, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Though athletes have often cited the win-at-all-costs culture as a reason they cheat, only a slim number of those surveyed said they would be tempted to take performance-enhancing drugs - Sputnik International
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McLaren called the vote to reinstate RUSADA a "watershed moment for WADA."

"We'll see what the reaction is around the world. We see a swelling on the athlete side [now], very unfavourably towards what's been done," McLaren added.

WADA’s decision to reinstate RUSADA was met with criticism from western officials and agencies. Particularly, the UK Anti-Doping authority (UKAD) questioned the world anti-doping agency’s independence in the vote. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart, in his turn, said the international body should be reformed after its decision to reinstate RUSADA.

READ MORE: WADA Whistleblower Rodchenkov Retracts Part of Doping Accusations Against Russia

The global anti-doping agency’s commission, headed by McLaren, issued a two-part report on anti-doping rules violations in Russian sports in 2016 after Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow laboratory, who fled to the United States, said that the laboratory was involved in developing and distributing banned performance-enhancing substances for Russian athletes. The report claimed that there was a state-sponsored doping system in Russia.

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The doping scandal led to several sanctions against the Russian athletes. Some of them were stripped of their medals, while others were banned from participating in 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In December 2017, the IOC decided to impose restrictions on the Russian national team ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Only "clean" athletes were allowed to participate under the neutral flag.

Russian officials have refuted allegations of the existence of the state-run doping program but admitted there were issues with doping abuse in Russia.

Evidence leaked by the Fancy Bears hacking collective, have since pointed at the politically motivated nature of McLaren's work.

In August last year, WADA released a road map including 12 criteria, which Russia had to meet before WADA's compliance committee can recommend that RUSADA be reinstated. RUSADA said on September 14 that it had implemented all the WADA requirements for reinstatement.

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